Heartland parents discuss what age to leave children home alone - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland parents discuss what age to leave children home alone

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

It’s a question every parent faces: Should I let my child stay home alone?

The answer, of course, is ultimately up to mom and dad, but we’ve got some tips to help make the decision a little easy for you.

The National SAFEKIDS campaign recommends no child under the age of 12 should be left home alone, but that also depends on the child’s maturity level.

Heartland parents have varying thoughts. One mother of two said she started leaving her children at home for short periods of time around the age of 11 or 12.

She made sure there was no pattern to when she left them home alone. She says leaving them a cell phone is a must, along with making sure the kids have all the emergency numbers.

Even though being left at home gives kids a little more responsibility, parents say, it certainly doesn’t come without rules.

“No answering the door, not ever, ever, ever. [Make sure they know] our number, grandparents’ number. No going outside when we are not there. And a big thing was to stay away from the windows if they saw anybody,” Diana Schreiner said.

So, how do you know if your kid is ready to be left alone?

According to Healthychildren.org, there are some questions to ask before you make that step:

  • Will your child know how to answer the phone? They should never tell the caller they’re home alone.
  • Do they know what to do in case of a medical problem, do they know first aid?
  • Are they familiar with how to switch an electrical circuit breaker or replace a fuse? Also, where to find the shutoff valves on toilets and sinks?
  • Can they handle a fire? Things like never throwing water on a grease fire.

For the full list of questions to consider, click here.

Police say it’s important to make sure your child is ready before leaving him or her home alone. They say if something were to happen to the child, a parent could be charged.

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