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Home Safety: Leaving Your Child Home Alone

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Trying to decide if your kids are ready to stay at home without you?

Before you leave your child home alone, there are some things you should know. Only Maryland and Illinois have laws pertaining to the age you’re allowed to leave your child at home, but the National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that children should not be left alone until they are 12 years old. Most states will investigate the situation if children 7 years old and younger are left alone for any amount of time. Children 8 to 9 years old should not be left for more than two hours.

When you think your child is ready, go over this checklist with him and make sure they know and understand all the rules and safety procedures. Then, go over your own checklist at the bottom.

Child’s Checklist

1. I know my full name, address and phone number.

2. I know how to call 911.

3. I know when it’s appropriate and not appropriate to call 911.

4. I know how to call Mom or Dad at work or on their cell phone.

5. (If you trust your neighbors) I know how to call my neighbors for help because they can get here faster than Mom and Dad at work.

6. I know to never answer the door or phone, even if the person at the door says they are a relative or policeman.

7. I know to get out of the house in case of a fire and to not try to be a hero.

8. I know not to play with knives or anything else dangerous in the house.

9. I know not to use the stove or oven.

10. I know to not invite anyone over.

Mom and Dad’s checklist

1. I have my guns locked up. The bullets are not in the gun and are locked up separately. Locked, not hidden. Kids snoop when you’re gone and will find them.

2. I have placed all alcoholic beverages out of reach.

3. I have told them what to do while I’m gone and have a schedule with planned activities utilizing the While Mom’s Away Planner.

4. I have let my child know to call me if they need anything at all.

5. I will call and check up on them. If you don’t have caller ID, leave a message, and when they hear it’s you, they will answer.

Related Resource:


Who’s your favorite babysitter? Why do you like her so much?

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