Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, odds are that there are children home alone somewhere in your family circle. The demands of today’s two-income, two-career family structure has significantly increased the number of children who, once they are old enough to accept the responsibility, are “on their own” at home for some portion of the day. Here are some ways you can help prepare them for the unexpected:
- Make certain that every child in your home knows how to arm and disarm your security system.
- Make certain that every child in your home, even the youngest, understands that dialing 911 is the quickest way to summon help–and that he or she knows the basics of 911 protocol: their name, their address, their phone number and to always stay on the telephone until the 911 dispatcher tells them to hang up the phone.
- Make certain your children know how to contact you, or an alternative adult, in the event of an emergency.
- Make certain your children know that they should not open the front door to strangers or ever allow any stranger to come into the home.
- Make certain that your children understand the dangerous consequences of playing with matches, cigarette lighters, or other fire sources–including the kitchen range–and that they know to leave the house and seek help at a neighbor’s home in the event of a fire.
- If you own firearms, make certain that the guns and ammunition are stored separately–and that both are locked up.
Children can be safe and secure on those occasions when you can’t be home with them. All it takes is a little instruction to help them know and understand the things they need to do–and not do–when they’re home alone.