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Keep Home-Alone Kids Safe

Follow these simple precautions for your children.

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Children in single-parent and two-income families often find themselves home alone in the hours right after school. Help keep them safe with these tips and precautions:

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  • Make sure they know their full name, address, and phone number (parents' work numbers, too).
  • Teach them how to call 911 or the operator in an emergency.
  • Explain how to give directions to your home in an emergency.
  • Make sure they know not to accept rides or gifts from people they don't know well; tell them to stay at least 8 feet away from a stranger in a car who stops to ask for directions.
  • Teach older kids how to operate door and window locks and your home's alarm system.
  • Whenever your kids come home to an empty house, have them check in with you or a neighbor as soon as they arrive.
  • Give kids a house key to keep in a safe concealed place, such as inside a sock. Never keep a key outside under a doormat.
  • Make sure your kids know that they can't let anyone into your home, including other kids, without permission.
  • Tell your kids how to respond so phone callers and people at the door won't know they're home alone.
  • Test your kids to make sure they know how to escape in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Tell your kids never to go in your house or apartment alone if things don't look right -- if the door is already open or a screen is ripped, for example.
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