Leaving kids home often leaves parents anxious or unclear as to what steps they should take to ensure their child’s safety. California, like most states, does not have a law or child age guidelines for staying home alone. That decision is left up to parents, and it’s an issue every family is faced with at some point. It’s hard for a parent to feel comfortable leaving their children home alone. But you can be rest assured knowing your home security system and security cameras are there to keep them safe. You can even monitor them while you’re away.
This post is sponsored by ACS Security Services.
Child Safety Tips For When They Are Home Alone
Child Age Guidelines for Staying Home
Not sure if your child is old enough to stay home alone? Here are some suggestions based on years of age but may vary depending on the individual child:
9 Years Old or Younger: These children are too young to be left alone for any period of time. They should never be left unattended in cars, playgrounds, backyards, or even inside your home.
10 Years Old: These children should not be left alone for more than an hour, especially at night. If you plan to leave your 8 to 10-year-old home alone, make sure it is during the day.
11 to 12 Years Old: These children are capable of being left alone but should not be left home alone at night. It is recommended to leave them only for around 3 hours at a time.
13 to 15 Years Old: These teens are safe to leave unsupervised but probably not for an entire night.
16 to 17 Years Old: This is the age where they can be left at home alone for longer periods of time. They are old enough to take care of themselves and capable of taking care of any issues that may occur. Additionally, they likely have a cell phone and can get in contact with you if need be.
Child Home Safety Rules
Here are some home safety rules to discuss with your children when the time comes for them to stay home by themselves:
- Always lock the doors. Even if you have a home security system, you should always remind your kids to lock the door as soon as they’re in the house.
- Never open the door to strangers. This rule applies even when you’re at home. Your child should never open the door for anyone that they do not know. Remind them to always look through the peephole or window before opening the door for anyone, even if they are expecting someone. This includes anyone with delivery as well.
- Keep tabs on your kids with phone notifications. Using smart home devices such as door sensors and cameras can help you keep an eye on your kids while you’re away. Get phone notifications when they come home (or try to sneak out at night) and watch real-time video footage by installing cameras in your house. Some cameras have a 2-way talk feature that allows you to communicate with children, babysitters, and even pets!
- Talk about telephone rules. It’s important to teach your children how to communicate on the phone. Most importantly, they must never tell anyone that they are home alone. Teach your children to tell whoever is on the phone that you are busy and to take a message, even if you aren’t there.
- Use Social Media Responsibly. Social Media is becoming more and more common among younger children. It is important they never post about being home alone. Teach your children to be cautious with what they are sharing online.
- If they leave the house, they need to tell you where they are going. Many parents are okay with their children heading over to a neighbor’s or playing in the neighborhood. However, you need to teach your children to call you when they reach their destination and whenever they plan to leave where they are. This is important because if something were to happen, you would have an idea of what your child was doing and where they were.
- Teach them about fire safety. If you plan to leave your child home alone, make sure they are old enough to understand fire safety. Let them know that if they see or smell smoke, to immediately leave the house and call the fire department. Find a trusted neighbor that they can go to in case of an emergency such as this.
Talk to your kids about staying safe in your home. Make sure they know what to do in case an emergency does happen. The more you teach them about safety, the better off they’ll be when left home alone.
Home Security Special Offer for South Bay Families
Get a FREE indoor camera when you sign up for ACS Security Services.* We offer a complete home security analysis with a customized solution at absolutely no cost. To learn more click here.
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