SOS 4 Kids Inc. has made every reasonable effort to ensure the information in the Home Alone Safety Online tutorial is accurate and reflects the most up to date information pertaining to first aid, children’s safety, and prevention of injury and abuse. The content contained in this tutorial may be updated as new information becomes available. SOS 4 Kids Inc. cannot guarantee that children who complete the Home Alone Safety Online tutorial will be adequately prepared or responsible enough to remain at home without adult supervision. Nor can SOS 4 Kids Inc. guarantee that the lifesaving and prevention techniques introduced in this tutorial will prevent personal injury, abuse, neglect or loss of life.
In general, it is recommended by Children’s Aid Societies in Canada and Child Protection Agencies in the USA that a young or immature child not be left alone even for short periods of time. The legal and/or recommended age is different in each province and in each state and even if a child is of age, their maturity and judgment may not permit them to deal with unforeseen circumstances. It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to check not only local laws and guidelines in their community with respect to leaving children home alone but they need to ensure their child’s preparedness. Age is not the only factor that parents and guardians should use to determine a child’s readiness to stay home alone. Parents and guardians have to consider a number of other variables, including the individual child’s capacity, temperament, maturity level, willingness to follow the rules, and comfort with the idea of staying by themselves and the availability of emergency assistance. No child should stay home alone if not ready to deal with unforeseen circumstances. The intent of this tutorial is to help parents ascertain if children are able to prepare for this important step on their journey to independence. However, parents and guardians know their child’s abilities best and only parents and guardians can determine their child’s ability and readiness to safely stay home alone.
Once families have determined that their children will be safe at home without direct adult supervision, parents and guardians must still make every effort to provide for the safety and wellbeing of their child. This includes, but is not limited to, having good locks, working smoke detectors/fire alarms/carbon monoxide detectors, setting up some form of communication that children are able to use to contact an accessible and trusted adult quickly and easily, and ensuring that children know how to access help or the Emergency Medical System in the event of an emergency like fire, stranger, injury, abuse and neglect.
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