So that time has finally come: you are going away on a business trip, and you are thinking about leaving your child at home. You feel you can trust them to be responsible based on their age and maturity. However, ask yourself “what are the risks when children are left home alone?” and you will find that it isn’t just a question of them being old enough or wise enough. There are many other considerations, and we will cover some of them, along with practical tips to let you go on a worry-free trip.
Feel Secure with Home Security
The very first concern for most people would be how to keep your child and property safe. When you go and leave your child and home alone, there is a real risk to both life and property. Consider this: in France in 2014, there was an 18% year-on-year increase in burglaries in British-owned holiday homes. It was attributed to an influx of Eastern European criminals, but the opportunity was present because those were second homes that were left unattended. Perhaps your own neighborhood is not a hotbed for criminals at the moment, but you should definitely consider the risk of crime.
To get rid of this first fear, you’ll want to have some anti-crime measures in place. Getting a CCTV system installed is a good way to start, but for total peace of mind it’s best to go for a smart security system such as Honeywell Tuxedo. Not only can you have video recording and playback of activities in your domicile, but you can enjoy other features like real-time smartphone alerts. Of course, it isn’t just for holidays: once installed, smart security systems provide protection every time you leave the house for work, a vacation, or any other reason.
Drill Them on Social Media Discretion
When it comes to tips on how to minimize the risk of leaving your child home alone, one of the last considerations is probably social media. After all, it’s just a way for your child to keep in touch with his or her friends anywhere. What’s the worst that could happen?
The thing about social media is that a lot of it is open to the world. While your child probably has ways of keeping secrets from you online, they may forget to be as cautious when you leave. The child may invite his or her friends over, mentioning that you are off for a few days, thus accidentally inviting dangerous individuals, too. So understand that home security for children does not involve just in-home technology, but it extends to their personal habits. Make sure to discuss what can and cannot be said online with your child.
Lock Away Temptations and Dangerous Items
In some respects, the teenage years can be difficult for most parents to handle: it’s a time when their child is old enough to want to be taken seriously, and part of that is doing potentially risky things. You may have guns, alcohol, or other items that are useful or safe when used responsibly, but are dangerous when left in irresponsible hands.
So when the child is left at home alone, another safety tactic is to store such items away. You may also lock the storage space where you put them and keep it secret from your child. However, if you trust your child more than that, you can tell them the location and how to unlock the space, but instruct them to open it only if absolutely necessary or with your permission.
Talk about Accident Prevention
To minimize the risk of leaving a child home alone, you should also discuss home accidents and how to prevent them. You may take that for granted when you are there, but you have to consider potential accident areas that you may have overlooked. Loose carpeting people can trip on, rails that do not go down the whole length of the staircase, and home appliances that can overheat are just some examples that many people overlook.
Go over the different appliances in your house, and imagine the different threats that particular zones and items in the house may present. Think about how threats from especially risky areas or items should be dealt with, and then discuss these with your child. If you live in a smart home, you may have to go over how to properly operate certain appliances for safety’s sake.
Prep Them for Medical Emergencies
While you may do your best to prevent home accidents, they can still happen. For that reason, one of the most important tips in minimizing risks of leaving your child alone at home is to make sure they’re ready for medical emergencies.
One basic necessity for every household is a first-aid kit. It should include things like bandages, disinfectant, burn ointment, medical tape, and cotton. You’ll want to make sure your child knows where the kit is and how to do basic first aid. If the injury is too severe, however, they should call 911 and wait for help to come. Having a hands-free or remote way to unlock doors for emergency personnel is among the most important reasons for homeowners to own Honeywell Tuxedo or a similar smart home system.
Have a “Who You Gonna Call” List
Chances are it is not just 911 that your child would need to call if there were an emergency. They would probably have to call relatives and close friends to let them know about the situation. In the worst case, they might ask you to immediately come home. That is why it is a good idea to have an emergency contact list.
Consider the different kinds of emergencies that your child might have to deal with. If you feel that your child might have to call other people aside from you or 911, write those other numbers down and explain to your child whom they should call and under what circumstances.
Solicit Help from a Trusted Neighbor or Friend
If for some reason you and your child suddenly cannot contact each other directly, then it will certainly be a cause for stress when you’re apart. If you want to avoid that stress, consider asking for help from a third party who lives close by.
Explain to your child that while you are away, they might expect visits from a trustworthy neighbor or friend. If possible, you’d want that person or friend to check in every day you are gone. Also, consider contacting them too to ask them how things are. Of course, they are not going to be able to keep an eye on your child all the time, which is why you need to own Honeywell Tuxedo or a similar alarm system if you want to be totally secure.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Before you leave on any business trip, you want to be absolutely sure that your child and home are safe. Make it a point to do a run-through of different emergency and safety protocols. It can be a great bonding experience: do some role-playing and throw a few new scenarios their way to see how they’d deal with it. It can also make them feel good if you ask for their input on how to make the procedures better or if they have anything to add.
If you have a smart home security system, you must also make sure to test the different functions. Everyday security is a big reason why many homeowners must own Honeywell Tuxedo or another smart security system, but it’s especially crucial in cases like this. You should be able to detect any glitches well ahead of time for features you use every day. But before you leave, test the functions you don’t use often to make sure everything’s in order.
Every parent must eventually leave their children home alone. When that happens, you must be able to do so with confidence and peace of mind. Make sure you have proper systems in place, and when you return, you and your child will enjoy increased trust and a healthier relationship.