It’s Christmas and New Year’s party time! Before you start celebrating, make sure your kids are safe at home. In the 1990 movie, “Home Alone”, an eight-year-old boy was left behind by mistake when the rest of the family went to the airport and boarded a flight to Europe. Most kids would panic at such a frightening dilemma, and call relatives or the local police.
However, in this Christmas fantasy, the boy had a great time, did all kinds of creative inventions and frustrated two would-be robbers. Of course, as entertaining as the story was, it wouldn’t ever happen in real life. Therefore, parents could benefit from some home alone safety tips to protect kids from the actual dangers the situation could cause.
1. As a general safety rule, no kids of age eight, and probably up to age 12, should ever be left home alone for any more than just a few minutes. Kids are naturally inquisitive, and if there’s no one there to restrict them, there’s no telling how much damage they can do to parents’ possessions, furniture, computer, television, kitchen appliances and to themselves.
2. Kids left home alone must have immediate access to a land line and/or cell phone. The need to know the process of calling 9-1-1 in any emergency, as well as the phone number to where the parents will be during their absence from the home.
3. Never leave kids home alone who are not competent swimmers, particularly if there’s a pool of any type or other open, large water-filled container. In such situations, older kids or babysitters should always have the younger kids in sight in any activity that involves swimming.
Drowning dangers also include washing machines, large laundry sinks and bathtubs that may even have just a few inches of water in them. Clothes dryers have also proven to be hazards for small kids who may find ways to turn on the power while another kid is inside.
4. Small kids home alone should be restricted from access to any plugs for electrical equipment. They may attempt to put foreign metal objects into the the wall sockets and cause a shock.
5. Kids home alone shouldn’t have access to any objects that could cause injury, such as firearms, knives, razors, large tools or any other dangerous item that should be locked away from them.
The best safety tip for parents of kids who are home alone is to avoid leaving those who are under teen years at home alone. The simplest solution is to be sure a competent family teen or babysitter is with them at all times when parents are absent.