With many Iowa schools resuming, some kids are old enough now to skip after-school daycare and be alone at home for the first time. Alyson Roach, at the American Red Cross, says it’s important for families to develop and practice a safety plan for children to follow. Parents, she says, need to set clear rules and kids need to follow them.
Kids shouldn’t post on social media websites that they’ll be home alone, Roach says, they should know how to handle emergencies from fires to tornado warnings, and set guidelines with their folks on where they’re allowed to go. A child should also know how to reach a parent or another adult if there’s a problem. Roach says there are a few other tips parents should instill in their children if they’ll be at home alone.
Kids should know not to open the door to strangers and not let any phone caller know they’re home alone, and don’t have friends over and don’t go outside if they hear an odd noise but to call 911 instead. Some older kids will be responsible for watching younger siblings until their mom or dad returns home from work. Many Red Cross chapters in Iowa offer a babysitter training course, which Roach says targets children between the ages of 11 and 15.
The class teaches sitters how to care for children safely and responsibly and it includes infant and child CPR and first aid. The course also teaches kids how to write a resume and how to approach potential clients by touting the skills they’ve learned in the course. Some Iowa chapters do charge a fee for the course.
Learn more at: www.redcross.org