School Safety Series: 5 things to consider before leaving your child home alone

Source: one tough job

All parents eventually face the decision to leave their child home alone for the first time. Whether they are just running to the store for a few minutes or working during after-school hours, parents need to be sure their child has the skills and maturity to handle the situation safely.

Here are 5 things to consider before leaving your child home alone:

Age and maturity: Is your child physically and mentally able to care for herself? Does your child make good decisions?

Circumstances: How long will your child be left alone? Is there a trusted adult nearby who can help in an emergency?

Safety skills: Does your child know your family’s safety plan in case of emergency? Does your child know who to contact in case of an emergency?

Youth babysitting other children: Is your child comfortable being in charge of his siblings?

Communication: Does your child know how to use a phone (cell or landline)?

*adapted from the Child Welfare Information Gateway. To read the full factsheet, visit

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