At Home Alone. Keeping Your Children Safe!. Is this what “Home Alone” means to you?. Today’s Objective . A.L.O.N.E. Assess Learn Organize Negotiate Evaluate. History of “Latchkey”. Reality in today’s society that children in self-care more than generation ago
At Home Alone Keeping Your Children Safe!
Today’s Objective • A.L.O.N.E. • Assess • Learn • Organize • Negotiate • Evaluate
History of “Latchkey” • Reality in today’s society that children in self-care more than generation ago • One in five children age 6-12 arrive home to empty house • Coined “latchkey kids” • Parents over the ages have battled with when is an appropriate age to leave a child at home alone
What is the law? • Minimal age to leave children unsupervised in BC? • Legal age does not exist in BC Law • BC Ministry of Child & Families uses combination of factors, including age, maturity to determine whether child should be left alone
What is the law? • BC Child, Family and Community Act • Among parental responsibilities, required to keep children safe, and free from neglect and abandonment • Responsible from birth to 18 • Cannot leave child “unattended” (without adequate supervision • Supervision takes different forms
Am I Ready? Am I Ready? (9-11 Year-Old Questionnaire)
ASSESS – Your Child’s Abilities • Deciding whether your child is ready to be left alone is a timeless struggle for all parents • Demonstrated ability of self-care? • Dresses independently? • Follows instructions? • Finds safe activities? • Able to manage chores/fixing a snack? • Completes homework without you?
ASSESS – Your Child’s Abilities • Does he/she know basic first aid? • Demonstrate good judgement? • Able to solve problems, or does he/she leave that to you? • Does your child have special needs or identified behaviour problems that could pose a safety risk? • Period time time for self-care
ASSESS – Your Child’s Reaction • Ask how they feel about being home alone; are there things that may be frightening to them, and do they feel confident? • How does your child react to stressful situations?
ASSESS – Parental Commitment • You know your child best and will make best decision • Provide a clear and reliable way for your child to reach you • Ensure your child is educated and able to handle any expected emergency • Set clear expectations
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Remove Risks! • Ensure all windows/doors have functioning locks • Carbon monoxide alarm, smoke detectors on each level of house • Hot water tank <54 deg. C. • Make candles off limits! • Call Display to screen incoming calls
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Remove Risks! • Lock up: • Alcohol • Prescription medication • Tobacco • Lighters/matches • Car keys • Over-the-counter medications that could pose health risk if taken in excess
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Fire Exit Plan • Practice fire drills with your family regularly; plan your escape route • Crawl if you smell smoke/hear smoke alarm • If clothes catch fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL • Once outside, stay outside • Call 9-1-1 from neighbour’s house
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY - Electricity • If you see a wire hanging from a police stay away! • A green metal box with red hazard sign is dangerous! • Never climb a hydro pole or a tree near power lines • Never fly kites near power lines • Water + Electricity = DANGER • Never touch anyone in contact with electricity
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Street-proofing • Know your name, age, telephone number, address, city and province by memory • When and how to call 9-1-1 • Tell your parents/guardians where they are at all times • Never admit you’re home alone when answering the door/telephone • Never invited in unexpected guests when home alone
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Street-proofing • Never approach or enter a stranger’s car when walking alone • You can talk to a stranger, but never go ANYWHERE with him • If you are followed, run to nearest location where adults are present • Trust your feelings and know when to say NO!
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Dealing with Strangers • When at home, keep all doors/windows locked • If someone knocks, look out window first • Never let strangers into your home • If someone wishes to use the phone, call the contact neighbour or 9-1-1 • Should you answer the phone?
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Dealing with Strangers • If you return home and find your front door open, you should proceed to your contact neighbour’s home and call 9-1-1 • Know what to do if the unthinkable happens and someone breaks into your home
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Prepare Your Child What would you do if… • You lost your keys? • You or sibling began throwing up a lot? • A man in uniform comes to the door? • You came home and saw smoke in your home? • You came home and found the door broken open
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Prepare Your Child Give different responses to your child: • “I can go inside to see who’s there” • “I can yell, GET OUT then run” • “I can go to a neighbour’s house and call police” • “I can call my parents from the neighbour’s house”
LEARN ABOUT SAFETY – Prepare Your Child Discuss the consequences: • “If an intruder is still inside I could be in big trouble” • “I could scare him away, but he might catch me” • “Police will check the house” • “Parents will call police who will check the house”
ORGANIZE THE HOME • Assemble a basic first aid kit, including bandages, sterile gauze, adhesive tape, tweezers, peroxide and anti-bacterial cream • Instruct your child on disarming the home security system • Keep flashlights handy in the event of power outage • Leave a spare house key with more than one neighbour
ORGANIZE THE HOME • Unplug space heaters • Update list of important phone numbers • Key chain with clip where your child can keep his house key • Consider a weekly agenda • Ensure TV/computer parental control
NEGOTIATE THE TERMS • Locking doors upon arrival • Calling parent upon arrival • Whether friends are welcome in parent’s absence • Rooms of the house that are off limits • Homework or chore duties • TV time, and channels/types of shows
NEGOTIATE THE TERMS • Internet and computer rules • Kitchen and cooking • Healthy snacks vs. “free for all” • Opening doors for strangers • Answering the phone • Getting along with siblings • Never telling anyone child is alone!
EVALUATE • Does he/she feel comfortable about being home alone? If not, why not? • Is she/he able to follow rules? • Is he/she able to understand and remember instructions
EVALUATE • Is your child finding constructive things to do without getting into mischief? • Can your child handle normal and unexpected situations? • Is your child readily able to contact you at work? • Can your child reach someone for help in case of emergency?
CONCLUSION • Aim between ages 10-12; but base decision on many factors and not just age • Teach your child safety techniques • Organize your home to make it as safe for your child as possible • Discuss and determine expectations • Remember to evaluate!
At Home Alone…Keeping your child safe! Patrick Bryant Lori Beauvais pat.bryant @csaanich.ca firstname.lastname@example.org 250-652-4441 250-995-7209 Keating Home and School Association email@example.com Judy Ryan Linnea Hagens Beacon Community Services