With school out for the year, and summer in full swing, many kids of all ages will be home alone for portions of the workday. For kids, the idea of hours on end without schoolwork or classes can seem exciting and fun, but for parents, the thought of their children at home without supervision can be nerve-racking.
However long your kids must be at home before you are able to supervise their activities, it’s important to ensure that they are well aware of the dangers that can be lurking in your own home. Parents should brief their children on safety tips and emergency procedures daily if necessary. It only takes one major mistake for someone to get injured, so it’s vitally important that your children know the risks.
Here are 10 summer home safety tips for you and your kids:
- Have an emergency plan. Make sure that your children are aware of emergency contacts and where numbers are located. If your children have cell phones, make sure that emergency contact numbers are programed into the phone. Also, teach your children the difference between calling the local police station for non-emergency issues, such as seeing a suspicious person in the neighborhood, versus calling 911 for emergencies such as a break-in or drowning in the pool. Ensure that your neighbors also know how to contact you if there is an emergency at your home.
- Go over kitchen safety and rules. Cooking can be a dangerous activity if your child doesn’t know how to use certain appliances in a safe way. Make sure that there are rules in place for using the kitchen, and if needed, pre-prepare meals for your child while you are gone.
- If you have an alarm system, make sure your kids know how to use it. This is also a good time to teach them how to press a panic button if an intruder does enter the home.
- If you have babysitters or older siblings who watch younger kids, make sure that there are strict rules in place, and that the babysitter knows his/her responsibility. You do not want any home policy to be vague or up for interpretation. Set clear boundaries.
- Never allow children to swim in a pool without supervision. Many home accidents happen around the pool. If you have a pool, consider investing in a safety fence, and make sure your children are aware of the rules of using the pool.
- Consider moving all cleaning chemicals or dangerous prescriptions to places where children cannot access them. It’s important that your children do not experiment with dangerous substances in the home.
- If you own a gun, make sure that it is locked up and hidden away where your kids cannot access it. It’s a good policy to not inform your children of where a gun is located in the house.
- If you have alcohol in the house, make sure that is also hidden away. Speak to your kids about the dangers of alcohol abuse and underage use. Make sure they know that any alcohol consumption by minors will not be tolerated in your home.
- Teach home safety techniques such as not opening the front door if a stranger knocks, but teach your kids to ask in a strong voice “who is it?” Many burglars knock on doors to see if anyone is home. Let your child know that they should never, ever open the door for a stranger, but asking who it is will help notify the visitor that someone is home.
- Create strict social media guidelines when you are away from the home. Children should not be posting on any online networks that they are home alone. You never know who has access to that information and who may wish to cause trouble.
Many of these tips may seem like common sense, but it’s easy to forget details the busier our lives become. When parents are used to their kids being in school all day, it’s easy to let some of these safety issues slip through the cracks because they are not major issues during the school year. However, it’s important that your kids pay attention to emergency plans and potential dangers when they are without your supervision to prevent an injury or unintentional death.
If you feel that your kids have been injured due to negligence on behalf of another when they were not under your supervision, you should contact a personal injury attorney. Your attorney may be able to help you recover financial losses due to the injury.
Fellows, B. E. (2017, June 04). Safety tips for parents who have kids home alone during the summer. Retrieved June 05, 2017, from http://www.wtvm.com/story/35585812/safety-tips-for-parents-who-have-kids-home-alone-during-the-summer
Carmen Gonzalez CaldwellSpecial to The Miami Herald. (n.d.). Summer break: Now is the time to talk safety with your children. Retrieved June 05, 2017, from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article153542784.html