Home Alone Safety Tips

The decision to allow a child to stay home alone should be made on an individual basis, based on the child’s maturity and comfort level. As a parent, you are in the best situation to assess your child’s readiness to take on the responsibility of staying home alone. It is best to start leaving the child alone for very short periods of time to evaluate their readiness. 

Are they mature enough to appropriately respond to the possible risk or emergency situations that may arise?

  • Do they posses the self-confidence to handle them?
  • Are they able to make responsible decisions and problem solve?

 

Ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you have made sure your child is ready:

  • Does your child know how to place an emergency call and what is important to say?
  • Does your child know to call you immediately upon their arrival at home?
  • Would your child know what to do if he/she cut, burned, or injured himself?
  • Do they know where the first aid kit is?
  • Is there a flashlight readily available and are the batteries fully charged? Would your child know where the spare batteries are kept and how to replace them if need be?
  • Do you have a household fire extinguisher? Does your child know where to find it and how to use it?
  • Is your child permitted to answer the telephone? the door? Does he/she know what to say?
  • Would your child know how to respond to deliveries (expected or unexpected), emergency requests, unscheduled visitors?
  • Would they know what to do if they arrived home and the front/back door was ajar or a window was broken?
  • Does your child know never to lend his/her key to anyone without your permission?
  • Do they know how to reach you or a reliable alternate contact at all times?
  • Have you secured "personal items” that your child may be curious about exploring in your absence?
  • Is your child allowed to have friends over? Is he/she permitted to visit them or a neighbour?
  • What has your child been instructed to do if he/she suddenly feels ill?
  • Does your child advise you of any changes of plans and know to always check with you first?

 

If they seem to do well and are comfortable being left alone for short periods, you might want to slowly increase the time period of your outings up to 1-2 hours for children twelve and under.

 

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