Safety Tips for Leaving Children Home Alone | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog
Home / Blog / Safety Tips for Leaving Children Home Alone | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog
Deciding the age at which your child can safely stay home alone isn’t easy, and because no two children are developmentally identical, age-based guidelines are sometimes too simplistic to be reliable. The potential for childhood harm or injury is greater in the absence of parents, but ample preparation prior to an absence can help reduce the risks. That’s why the Nemours Foundation, through their website, KidsHealth.Org, offers the following advice for parents to help prepare young children to stay home alone safely: “Schedule time to get in touch. Set up a schedule for calling. You might have your child call as soon as he or she walks in the door (if coming home to an empty house), or set up a time when you’ll call home to check in. Figure out something that’s convenient for both of you. Make sure your child understands when you’ll be able to get in touch and when you might not be able to answer a call.
Set ground rules. Try to set up some special rules for when you’re away and make sure that your child knows and understands them. Consider rules about:
having a friend or friends over while you’re not there
rooms of the house that are off limits, especially with friends
TV time and types of shows
Internet and computer rules
kitchen and cooking (you may want to make the oven and utensils like sharp knives off limits)
opening the door for strangers
answering the phone
getting along with siblings
not telling anyone he or she is alone
Stock up. Make sure your house has everyday goods and emergency supplies. Stock the kitchen with healthy foods your child can eat, and leave a dose of any medication that your child needs to take. In addition, leave flashlights in an accessible place in case there’s a power outage. Post important phone numbers — yours and those of friends, family members, the doctor, police, and fire department — that your child might need in an emergency.
Be sure that you:
Create a list of friends your child can call or things your child can do when he or she is lonely.
Leave a snack or a note so your child knows you’re thinking of him or her.
Make up a schedule for your child to follow while you’re away.
Make sure the parental controls and filtering systems, if you have any, are programmed for the Internet on your computer and on your television.
Childproof your home. No matter how well your child follows rules, be sure to secure anything that could be a health or safety risk. Lock them up and put them in a place where your child cannot get to them or, when possible, remove them from your home. These items include:
over-the-counter medications that could cause problems if taken in excess: sleeping pills, cough medicine, etc.
guns (if you do keep one, make sure it is locked up and leave it unloaded and stored away from ammunition)
Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.