1. Post an emergency phone list where children can see it. Include 9-1-1, your work and cell numbers and the numbers for anyone else who is close and trusted such as a neighbor or friend.
2. Identify neighbors whose home your child can go to in case of an emergency that requires them to leave home. Let the neighbor know in advance he or she is home alone and may call if needed.
3. Practice emergency plans with your kids so they know what to do in the event of fire, injury, or other events. Write the plan down and make sure they know where it is.
4. Instruct kids to never open the door to strangers.
5. Do not talk about being home alone on social media-that also includes parents sharing that the kids are home alone. Remind kids to never share information about their location, including school name, when using chat rooms or posting on social networks.
6. Teach children not to say you aren’t at home when asked on the phone. Instead have them reply “He or she is busy right now. Can I please take a message?”
7. Children should only open the door for people permitted to be in the house when you’re not there. They should always check the peephole or window before opening the door. If they’re unsure who’s at the door, have them call you or a trusted neighbor immediately.
8. Remember to schedule service appointments such as cable or pest control only when an adult is home.
9. Instruct kids to never open the door to delivery people or service representatives. They will either place the package at the door or leave a pick up notice.
10. Make sure the first aid kit is stocked and stored where your children can find it; keep it out of reach of young children. Red Cross Babysitter Training can enhance your teen’s safety skills.
11. Let children know where the flashlights are. Make sure batteries are fresh. If the kids have smartphones or an iPad, remember a flashlight is also in Red Cross apps.
12. Remove or safely store in locked areas items like guns, ammunition, knives, hand tools, power tools, razor blades, scissors, and other objects that can cause injury.
13. Make sure potential poisons like detergents, polishes, pesticides, care-care fluids, lighter fluid and lamp oils are stored in locked cabinets or out of the reach of children.
14. Make sure medicine is kept in a safe location.
15. Make sure your home has at least one approved smoke alarm is installed and operating on each level of the home.
16. Teach your kids to keep exterior doors and windows closed and locked.
17. If the home has an electronic security system, children should know how to properly operate it.
18. Instruct kids not to leave the house without permission. If permission is given, have them call or text you to let you know they’re leaving the house, where they’re headed and when they’ll return.
19. Remind kids to never go outside to check out an unusual noise. If the noise worries them, they should call you, a neighbor or 9-1-1. Let the 9-1-1 operator know they’re home alone.
20. Teach kids if they smell smoke, or hear the fire or smoke alarm, to get outside quickly and ask a neighbor to call the fire department. Instruct them to never go back into a burning building for any reason. Identify a safe place for them to go away from the house or apartment for safety.