Safety Checklist for Kids Home Alone
It's been over 20 years since the movie Home Alone was made. While the film was a comedy, the premise behind it—an eight-year old gets left behind and ends up fending off two bungling burglars—it had parents wondering. Specifically, how would they safety proof their house so that when their children found themselves home alone (intentionally or not), the children stayed safe.
Home Safety Statistics
Despite the best intentions of parents, each year an average of 2,096 children age 14 and under die because of a home injury (according to Safe Kids USA, link below). The top three causes are fire, suffocation and drowning. One of the main reasons this occurs is because many of the parents are less inclined to install safety devices in the house.
Sometimes, your children will be home alone. Safety needs to be the priority whether your children are home alone or not.
Follow these guidelines to help make your home safe for children:
- Make sure emergency numbers (fire, police, poison control, emergency room, doctor, friends and relatives) are easily accessible.
- Establish and practice drills so your child knows exactly what to do in case of a fire. This includes planning exit routes and education in fire techniques (e.g., crawling in heavy smoke) and a place to meet up later.
- Look at all of the rooms in the house from a small child's view of them.
- Install a smoke alarm in each room and ensure your children know what they sound like.
- Teach the children how to operate the burglar alarm.
Living Areas/Great Rooms
- Keep exits and hallways clear.
- Keep drapes/curtains/Christmas trees away from heating vents and fireplaces.
- Use tape to secure electric cords away from the traffic flow.
- Plug outlets with safety plugs.
- Place space heaters, small stoves and TVs where they cannot be tipped over.
- Set up the guards in front of fireplaces, wood stoves or any open heaters.
- Ensure that any flammable materials like towels, curtains, pot holders, etc., are stored away from the stove and burners.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher, teach the children how to use it and place it in the kitchen.
- Store cleaning and other products that could harm a child in their original containers and/or safety packaging.
- Instruct children to stay out of and not climb on top of stoves, refrigerators, dryers, etc.
- Store knives, matches and plastic bags away from where children cannot get at them.
- Keep ashtrays, heaters and other fire sources away from beds and/or bedding.
- Make sure the kids turn off any heating pads before falling asleep.
- Locate cribs away from windows, blinds or curtain cords.
- Make sure no toy part is smaller than 1 and 5/8 inches across.
- Stash toys on low shelves or in a toy box without a lid.
- Keep all medicines in safety capped containers and out of the reach of children.
- Discard all out-of-date prescriptions by flushing them down the toilet.
- Put non-skid mats in the tub or shower.
- Maintain an easy to use first-aid kit in an accessible place.
Make home alone safety a priority by reading other home security tips!