Safety Tips for Independent Kids

If your child will be spending time alone after school for the first time this year, be sure he or she is prepared.

Here are some safety tips collected from the American Red Cross Scholastic. Find more at redcross.org/news/article/kids-home-alone-follow-these-safety-steps and scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/more-school-life/7-safety-rules-kids-home-alone.

Make sure smoke detectors are working. Remind your child what the alarm sounds like and what to do if it goes off. Post relevant phone numbers (911, a close neighbor, your cell and work) prominently. Children should call or send a text message as soon as they get home. Set rules on when your child should answer the phone, such as whether they can pick up calls from recognized numbers or if they should just let everything go to voicemail. Make sure he or she knows not to leave the house without permission unless there is an emergency. Encourage him or her to take the same way home every day, whether it’s on the bus or on foot. That way, you can estimate your child’s arrival time and can retrace his or her steps if a problem arises. Verify that flashlights work and that your children know where you keep them. Lock up items such as weapons, tools, knives and scissors to avoid potential injury. Set rules about what cooking is permitted, if any. Tell children not to reveal they are home alone, including on social media sites.