Children are returning to school during the coming weeks. Some will be spending time home alone until parents return home from work. Now’s the time for both parents and children to take and learn safety steps that will make after-school hours at home alone safer and less stressful for everyone.
Top ten steps parents + guardians can take:
- Develop a home safety plan and discuss and practice it with the whole family.
- If a child is going home after school, have him or her call to check in after arriving home.
- For an older child, set ground rules about whether other kids can come over, whether cooking is okay, and whether the child can leave home.
- Post an emergency phone list where the child can see it.
- Make sure the first aid kit is stocked and stored where your children can find it, but keep our of reach of young children.
- Identify neighbors whose home your child can go to in case of an emergency.
- Remove or safely store in locked areas dangerous items like guns, ammunition, knives, hand tools, power tools, razor blades, scissors, and other objects that can cause injury.
- Make sure potential poisons like detergents, polishes, pesticides, care-care fluids, lighter fluid and lamp oils are stored in locked cabinets or out of the reach of children.
- Make sure medicine is kept in a locked storage place or out of the reach of children.
- Make sure at least one approved smoke alarm is installed and operating on each level of the home.
Top ten steps kids can take:
- Lock the door and make sure all the windows are closed and locked.
- Never open the door to strangers.
- Never open the door to delivery people or service representatives.
- Never tell someone on the telephone that mom or dad are not at home. Say something like “My mom is busy right now. Can I take a message?”
- Do not talk about being home alone on public websites.
- Never leave the house without permission.
- Do not go outside to check out an unusual noise. If the noise worries you, call mom, dad, or the police.
- Do not have friends over to visit when mom or dad aren’t at home without permission.
- Do not let anyone inside who is using drugs or alcohol, even if you know them.
- If you smell smoke or hears a fire or smoke alarm, get outside and ask a neighbor to call the fire department.
Perhaps you have more steps + tips that you’d like to share. Also, visit redcross.org to learn more about being Red Cross ready before, during, and after emergencies.