Latchkey Kids: Home-Alone Safety Tips

Children arriving home from school

Nationwide, one in 25 elementary age children comes back to an empty home after school, according to the Afterschool Alliance. The phrase “latchkey kid” originated more than 70 years ago, and continues today with more parents out in the workforce than previous generations.

If you’re a parent of a latchkey child, or know it’s a decision you’ll need to make one day, follow these tips to help ensure your child’s safety when they are home alone:

  • Set guidelines for your child’s behavior at home and after school – and stick to them.

  • Safeguard your home. Lock up alcohol, poisons and firearms.

  • Equip your child with a cellphone, and program it with your number, 911 and any other emergency contacts, like a nearby neighbor or other family member.

  • Additionally, place those numbers in a prominent location, like the refrigerator.

  • Teach them signs of danger, like a door left ajar or a broken window.

  • Have your child call you to check-in when they arrive home from school.

  • Tell your child where you will be, how you can be reached, and when you will return home.

  • Set ground rules for leaving the house, inviting friends, cooking, chatting online and answering the phone or door.

  • Teach them to never open the door to a stranger when home alone.

  • Develop a secret password that must be used if someone unfamiliar is picking them up from school or play.

  • Review what an emergency is with your child and types of emergencies that can occur.

  • Show your child where the first-aid kit is and how to use the items in it.

  • Create a family defense plan for fires and other emergencies. Practice different scenarios and remind your child to evacuate immediately if the smoke alarm sounds and to call 911 from their cellphone or a neighbor’s house.

  • A video surveillance system, paired with a home automation system, allows you to check in on your child’s safety as needed. It also helps you monitor their behavior while you’re away if you wish.

Ground rules and guidelines can help keep your child in check, but ultimate peace of mind comes from knowing your home is secure, even when you’re not there. Crime Prevention Security Systems has helped keep children and families safe for more than 40 years with monitored home security systems.

Contact us today for a free security consultation.

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