Is Your Child Ready?
Signs Your Child May Be Ready To Stay Home Alone
While every child matures differently, there are some signs that indicate your child may be ready to stay home without adult supervision for short periods of time. These signs will help parents, guardians and caregivers gage their child’s readiness.
- Your child is at least 10 years of age.
- Your child follows family rules and instructions.
- Your child knows his/her full name, address, major intersections and phone number.
- Your child knows and understands when to contact 911.
- Your child is not afraid to stay home alone.
- Your child knows what to do when the unexpected arises.
- Your child knows basic first aid, where the first aid kit is and how to use its contents.
- Your child knows how to lock the door routinely and safeguard the key.
- Your child knows how to contact a trusted adult if needed.
Once families are comfortable with the idea of leaving children without direct adult supervision, parents,guardians or caregivers are required to ensure that they have made every effort to ensure the child’s safety.
Please check your community’s child protection services for local guidelines or laws regarding the recommended minimum age to leave a child home alone. This varies from province to province and state to state. Parents should be mindful of the fact that not all children mature at the same age and that age is not the only factor to consider when deciding a child’s readiness. Temperament, capacity, maturity, access to Emergency Medical Services, willingness are also factors to consider. No child should be forced to stay home alone if not ready. Taking the home alone course will help youths develop many essential safety skills, but it does not guarantee that a child will be ready to stay on their own. This is a judgement call for parents, guardians and caregivers as they know the child’s abilities best.
At What Age Can A Child Stay Home Alone?
The Canadian government has not defined a legal age at which a child can be left home alone. Manitoba and New Brunswick are the only two provinces in Canada where provincial child welfare acts state that children cannot legally be left home alone under the age of 12. In the other provinces, parents have guidelines to follow regarding this issue. In general, child protection agencies recommend that a child younger than 10 not be left alone and only for short periods of time.
In the United States, only three States currently have laws regarding a minimum age for leaving a child home alone. Illinois law requires children to be 14 years old before being left alone; in Maryland, the minimum age is 8, while in Oregon, children must be 10 before being left home alone.
SOS 4 Kids recommends that a child be at least 10 years old and only when parents consider their child to be responsible and ready. A child who is not willing or ready should never be left home alone.
Not all ten year olds have a level of responsibility or maturity needed to stay on their own even in a safe environment. This is a judgement call left for parents as they know their child’s abilities best. It is important for children to be armed with important safety information that will help them make wise decisions, prevent injuries and deal with an emergency or an unexpected situation if needed.
What Will My Child Learn?
The Home Alone Safety Online course has 7 comprehensive learning modules covering:
Before You Purchase the Home Alone Safety Online course
…Please note the computer system requirements to successfully launch the training.
The Home Alone course was designed with media rich content (video and images) to provide an engaging learning experience for your child. It therefore needs sufficient WIFI speed to load and run the course without delays. It is recommended to have WIFI speed of 20 mbps to run the tutorial without lagging or issues.
- Supported Devices: Desktop or Laptop (PC or Mac) and iPads or Tablets. The content for this training is not designed to be displayed on a phone. If you are using a tablet you will need to ensure that you have enough available memory to run the tutorials. See the tips for iPads and Tablets below.
- Supported Browsers: (PC – Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge), (Mac – Chrome or Safari), (iPad – Chrome or Safari). To ensure the tutorials will launch successfully please make sure your browsers are up-to-date.
- Required WIFI Speed: The Home Alone course was designed with media rich content (video and images) to provide an engaging learning experience for your child. It therefore needs sufficient WIFI speed to load and run the course without delays. It is recommended to have WIFI speed of 20 mbps to run the tutorial without lagging or issues. Visit www.speedtest.net to test your WIFI speed.
Viewing Tutorials on iPads:
If you are viewing the Home Alone Course content on an iPad or Tablet you may experience slow loading times if there is not enough free memory on your device. In addition to having sufficient WIFI speed of 20 mbps you should also have at least 100 MB of available memory. To check your available memory, follow these steps:
- Click on the Settings icon.
- Click on the General menu item.
- Click on Storage and iCloud Usage
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