Home Alone Safety Tips
For parents with children who spend time on their own before or after school, safety and security is a major concern. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare your children for being home alone. The two biggest fears facing a young child are an encounter with an intruder, and a parent that doesn’t come home on time. Many remain isolated at home and are not allowed to play with friends. Others at an early age shoulder the responsibility for taking care of younger siblings. There are many things that can be taught to children to reduce the stress of being alone and to better prepare them for the experience. First, these youngsters need to know basic information such as their address, phone number, and parent’s full name. They need to have a list of important phone numbers posted near the phone. This can include their parent’s work place, a nearby relative, a neighbor, and their school.
Children home alone need to review important fire safety behaviors as well. More than 75% of fires started by juveniles occur when they are alone. Do they know "Two Ways Out" and how to call 9-1-1? Are they familiar with the "Stop, Drop, & Roll," "Crawl Low Under Smoke," or "Cool a Burn" behaviors? Instruct them on what to do if they smell smoke or natural gas, or see a fire.
- Know your routes of escape - have two ways out
- Alert others
- Get everyone out
- Go to a neighbor’s house and call "9-1-1"
- Don’t go back inside for anything
Children home alone need to know how to answer the phone without letting the caller know they are alone and to not let strangers into the house. They need to keep a small amount of money with them in case of emergency and have a contact person to call in case a problem develops and a parent is not available. Accidents happen. Children need to know basic first aid to treat minor injuries and illness. They also need to react quickly if someone is seriously hurt.
Burn - cool a burn with water
Animal bite - wash with soap and water
Cuts and scrapes - wash with soap and water
Bleeding - apply direct pressure
Bumps and bruises - cool with ice for 10 minutes
Clothes on fire - Stop, Drop & Roll
If it’s minor, call a parent
If it’s major, call "9-1-1"
For parents with children who spend time on their own before or after school, safety and security is a major concern. Please go over these simple safety rules with your children and make their time alone safer for everyone.
Stephen A. Dossett