As if looking after a child wasn’t hard enough, try keeping your kids safe when you’re away from home! When children are left unattended for periods longer than one hour, they lose their sense of self-control and that is when most accidents occur. That is why you must do your utmost best to protect your child even when you’re absent from home. Children staying home behind locked doors while you are at work can be kept safe “long-distance” with the help of these 5 simple methods.
Instruct the Child Well
Like it is the case with us adults, being prepared is important in case on an emergency for children as well. A child staying home alone should know how to turn on and off the home security system, call the police, lock and unlock doors, operate electronic devices etc. They should know that not panicking is the single most important thing in case of an unwanted event, like a kitchen fire. Instead of screaming and running in circles, they should dial the fire department, leave the house, and seek for help. If you are uncertain whether they will listen to you, you can always stage a fire drill or a mock emergency so they get practical experience on how to behave.
Teaching children how to use the phone or online messengers has more to it that simply calling for help. The phone is a communication channel that you can use to check if the children are OK. Like you did with baby monitors when they were younger, use the phone to check on your child. The communication has to go both ways, so encourage your child to call if they have any questions, notice something suspicious, or need to pass a message to you. Hopefully, most calls will be regarding trivial matters, such as not being able to find the dessert you left them to eat after lunch.
Avoiding a Lock-In
Perhaps the most common risk the children are exposed to is locking themselves accidentally in one of the rooms. They are still uncertain how to use locks, so they might turn the key and then start to panic. Another plausible scenario is the key breaking in half due to improper use. Then the child becomes entrapped and he or she can even hurt themselves if they panic too much. Besides teaching them how to operate locks properly, instruct them not to panic and call you and then you will come with a locksmith from a company like Safezone Locksmiths to free them in a matter of minutes.
Setting Ground Rules
As you have seen from the examples above, prevention is the most important factor when it comes to child safety. You have to actively teach them what they can and cannot do while you are away. There should be zones that are off-limits, like the kitchen drawer with knives or the garage. Children need to be clearly told where they can and can’t go and what they can and can’t touch. If you see that they have broken some of the preset rules, punish them in some way so they know you are serious because safety is serious business. Of course, if they behave well several days in a row, you could stop by and bring something sweet on the way back from work.
There are many things a small child cannot do on his or her own, like shopping. It would be illogical to instruct them how to take care of themselves indoors just to tell them to wander the streets in search of a convenience store every time they feel peckish. Everything the children need, primarily referring to food, they should be able to find inside the house, doing away with the need to leave the safety of the home.
All of the methods listed above have one clear goal: to turn the house into a safe haven for children even when you’re not around. By preparing well for such times, you ensure there is nothing scary about your staying home alone for a few hours.