‘Latchkey kids’ and ‘home alone’ are references made to kids, aged 12 and up, who are left unsupervised inside the home because their parents are away, possibly at work or on an errand.
There are different ways of keeping children safe at homewhile they are left to themselves:
– Stay connected to them by phone or on the internet. Put critical contact numbers on autodial in the home phone or on their cellphones and/or provide them a list of these.
– Child-proof the home. For example, keep toxic substances like cleaning detergents and medications out of reach.
– Plan for emergencies such as going over which escape routes to take in case of a fire. Put together a first aid kit.
– Set ground rules such as not opening doors to anybody or not posting online that they are at home on their own.
– Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
– Optimize use of a home security system to monitor and keep track of the children.
With regards the home security system, ensure that door sensors are installed on the front door or other entryway the children most often use. The front door area is also an ideal location to set up a security camera. Preferably, additional surveillance cameras are installed in other interior areas where the children would spend a lot of time in.
With an interactive security system and using mobile apps, parentsare able to remotely track through their cellphones, tablets or computers if the children have safely reached home and to check on how they are doing inside.Unique user codes which are keyed in upon entering the home may be assigned to each child so that parents would be able to identify which child has entered the home. On real time basis, they can get email and text notifications of the alarm system’s status (e.g. who has entered the home, which doors have been opened). With the benefit of security cameras, the parents can view live streaming video of areas of the home being monitored. If devices such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are integrated in the system, they will be alerted as well of other emergency situations.
It is important also that the children are trained on how to use the home’s security system. Familiarity in operating the system, particularly in arming and disarming it,can prevent false alarm incidents. More importantly, the children would know what to do if anything unusual happens.