As children are returning to school, many of them will be spending time home alone after school until their parents get home from work. Decide if your child is mature enough to be home alone and ask him or her if they would be comfortable being alone. Parents and guardians should develop a home safety plan and discuss it and practice it with their children. Have them call to check in when they get home. For an older child, set ground rules about whether other kids can come over when the parents are absent, whether cooking is an option, whether they can leave the home. Here are more tips:
- Post an emergency phone list where the children can see it. Include 9-1-1, the parents work and cell numbers, numbers for neighbors, and the numbers for anyone else who is close and trusted.
- Identify neighbors whose home your child can go to in case of an emergency that requires your child to leave your home
- Practice an emergency plan with the child so they know what to do in case of fire, injury, or other emergencies. Write the plan down and make sure the child knows where it is.
- Make sure the first aid kit is stocked and stored where your children can find it; keep it out of reach of young children.
- 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.
- Install safety covers on all unused electrical outlets.
- Limit any cooking a young child can do. Make sure at least one approved smoke alarm is installed and operating on each level of the home.
- Limit the time the child spends in front of the television or computer. Activate parental controls. Use programs that limit the sites children can visit, restrict chat sites and allow parents to monitor online activity.
Here’s to a safe school year!