For every family the time comes when the children have reached the age and are responsible enough to leave at home, either while parents are at work or for a short while after school. There are so many things to consider if this is the case in your home. For example, does your child know what to do if the fire alarm goes off, the security system is tripped, a stranger comes to the door or if something unexpected occurs either in the home or nearby? Consider the following tips to give you peace of mind when your child is old enough to stay at home alone.
- Install a Security System with Cameras – Many home security systems today come with remote activation and allow you to check into what’s going on a home with the click of a button. Sensors can tell you when a child has arrived home, what door they entered and even if they closed the door behind them. Surveillance cameras are an added level of security, in that they can give you a visual of what is going on in the home and around the exterior of the property. With home automation, parents can be alerted if a glass window has been broken, if the fire/smoke detector has gone off and even if the garage door has been accidentally left open. Consider a home security system to provide comprehensive protection.
- Make an Emergency Plan – We suggest following the old adage, “Expect the best, but plan for the worst.” Talk to your child about what to do in an emergency including an intruder, a fire, a loss of power or CO alarm. Discuss the best course of action including getting out of the house, calling 911 and what neighbor can be counted on for help. Review the emergency exits by drawing a map that outlines the best pathways to safety from each room in the house. Post relevant phone numbers (911, a close neighbor, your cell and work numbers) prominently.)
- Discuss Do’s and Don’ts – For each family the list of what is allowed and not allowed will differ according to the age of the child as well as specific family rules. Things to consider include: phone time, TV time, video games, and whether friends are allowed over while parents are not home.
- Check-ins – If a child is arriving home from school you may want to consider having him/her check in and let you know they have arrived safety. A good idea is to have the child take the same route home every day and practice locking and unlocking the door in advance.
If your child will be home alone consider talking to our professionals about installing a security system that fits your needs. Peace of mind is priceless.