It’s back-to-school time which means some kids will be home by themselves after school lets out. When talking to kids about being at homealone, parents should stress the following steps, and post them somewhere to remind the child about what they should, or shouldn’t, do until mom, dad or caregiver get home:
- Lock the door and make sure all the windows are closed and locked.
- Never open the door to strangers. Always check before opening the door to anyone, looking out through a peephole or window first. Only open the door for people that parents and guardians have given you permission to let in the house. If unsure, contact your caregiver.
- Never open the door to delivery people or service representatives. Ask delivery people to leave the package at the door or tell them to come back at another time. Service representatives, such as a TV cable installer, should have an appointment when an adult is home.
- Never tell someone on the telephone that the parents are not at home. Say something like “He or she is busy right now. Can I take a message?”
- Do not talk about being home alone on public websites. Kids should be cautious about sharing information about their location when using chat rooms or posting on social networks.
- Never leave the house without permission. If it’s okay to go outside, children should contact their parents and tell them where they are going, when they are leaving, and when they will return. If mom and dad are still at work, children should call them when they leave and when they return home.
- Do not go outside to check out an unusual noise. If the noise worries the child, they should call their parents, an adult, or the police.
- Do not have friends over to visit when your parents aren’t at home. Do not let anyone inside who is using drugs or alcohol, even if you know them.
- If the child smells smoke or hears a fire or smoke alarm, they should get outside and ask a neighbor to call the fire department.
- If their are younger siblings in the home, enroll your older child in a Red Cross Babysitter’s Training class.
Here’s to a safe school year!