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What Every ‘Tween Should Know Before Staying Home Alone

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This week my kids are on spring vacation and, since I need to work, that means finding playdates and other activities to keep them busy.  Fortunately my oldest daughter is at an age where she can stay home alone for a few hours but it’s always in the back of my head wondering if she’s OK by herself.

There’s no hard and fast rule for what age is appropriate to leave your child home alone but over 10 year’s old is best.  Even then, only you know if your child is mature enough to stay calm in an emergency and know how to handle unplanned events.

Before leaving your ‘tween home alone here are some things to review with him or her:

Don’t announce it on social media – Establish ground rules as to whether your ‘tween can have friends over when you’re out.  Tell them to never post on social media that they’re home alone.  Not only is this a potential home invasion risk but an invitation for all of their friends to come over for an impromptu party.  With a home monitoring system such as COX Homelife, parents can be alerted on their smart phone or tablet every time someone comes in or out of the door.  Additionally, motion sensor cameras can be set up to see who is going in or out.

Show them where the circuit panel is – Show your ‘tween where the circuit panel is and how to identify a tripped circuit.   If a switch continues to trip or the appliance she was using continues to shut down, she shouldn’t reset the circuit as it could mean there’s an electrical hazard.  Explain to your ‘tween that if she smells smoke but doesn’t see a fire, it could mean that there is a fire behind the wall.  She should call 911 immediately.

What to do if a stranger comes to the door – Unfortunately home invasions are a reality.  Your ‘tween should never answer the door to anyone.  If you have requested that someone come over to check on her, send a text to your child alerting them to the fact and establish a password with the person for when they come to the door.   Make sure your ‘tween knows the code for your alarm system, how to reset it and how to use the panic mode.  Cox Homelife provides a silent alarm feature that can be activated through the key fob, the keypad and the touchscreen. The alarm is sent to the central monitoring service (CMS) for police assistance. CMS calls the associated phone to confirm the alarm and, if there is no answer, police are dispatched.

In an emergency the first call is 911 – For our ‘tweens, the natural instinct is to first call mom or dad in an emergency but teach them that the first call always should be 911.  Discuss with them various emergency scenarios such as a fire or an injury.  Are they aware of what to do in each situation?  Practice two different escape plans in the event of a fire and designate a neighbor’s home as the meeting place.  Remind your ‘tween to NEVER attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water!  While baking soda can put out a grease fire it takes a lot of it and the fire can get out of control very quickly.   Be sure your child is CPR and First Aid certified and review how to handle minor injuries.


One Comment

  1. There is nothing scarier than the increase of home invasions, especially if your kids are home alone at times. These blogs are a great way for folks to educate themselves both on how to teach kids to be safe but also the options out there for keeping your home from being a target.-yoursecurityguru.com


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