There are times when your child being home alone is simply unavoidable. Perhaps you get off work a little after they get off school–or maybe there is the occasional emergency that you just can’t take them to. While most younger teens can safely stay home alone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are entirely safe. Some modifications should always be made to the home for older children who want to or need to stay home alone.
Setup a Nanny Cam
It’s not spying if you’re a parent! If you don’t have a nanny cam, any web camera can be setup so that you can access it remotely–usually through your phone or a laptop. Of course, your child can know that the camera is there, watching, but it’s a great way for you to check in to make sure that they’re really doing their chores or their homework. And your child will likely be on their best behavior because they know that they are being watched. If you notice anything strange going on, such as a stranger at the door, you can call them and check in.
Check the Back Doors, Garage Doors and Windows
Even responsible adults often have blind spots. Back doors, garage doors, windows and side doors that are rarely used may be overlooked, so make sure that they are all secured before you leave. You might want to create a written checklist, too, so that your child knows exactly what areas of the home have to be secured before they are completely safe.
Purchase a Land Line Phone
Land lines may be obsolete for non-parents, but they’re still important for parents–after all, how often does your child forget to charge their phone? In the event that the power goes out or there’s some other emergency, the last thing you want is for your child to be unable to find their phone or otherwise unable to call. Land line phones are extremely affordable today and are excellent in the event of an emergency.
Install an “Alarm” Door Lock
An alarm door lock is a very simple system that goes off with a tone if the door is closed but the door remains unlocked. This is extremely useful for forgetful adults and for children and teens who are likely to rush in without locking the door. They’re also fairly easy to install on your own; most of them don’t require any specialized hardware knowledge or tools, they simply sense when the door is closed and the lock is not engaged. If you’re tired of telling your children again and again to please lock the door, this may be the simplest solution.
Safely Store an Extra Set of Keys
It’s almost inevitable that your child is going to get locked out of the house at some point or another. Safely storing a set of keys in a combination box is the best way to let them in again; otherwise they may try to go in through a window or damage the house. But it’s important to use a combination box, rather than placing the key under a mat or using a fake rock or other similar item. Criminals are on to these strategies and will quickly find an unsecured key.
Though it may not be trip wires and booby traps, the above home changes should secure your home enough that a reasonably mature child should be able to stay home safely. Of course, parents need to use their own judgment regarding when their child is responsible enough to be left home alone without incident.