Summer is approaching fast and many children will be home alone or watching younger siblings. To help families stay safe this summer, the Phoenix Police Department has created the following list of summer safety tips. Parents are advised to discuss these safety tips with their children before they are home alone.
Guidelines for Parents-Children Watching Younger Children:
1. In Arizona, a law does not designate the exact age at which a child can stay home alone or watch other children.
2. Parents need to use a “reasonableness test.”
a. Can your child, regardless of his or her age, act reasonably under the circumstances?
b. Detectives advise parents to consider the following:
i. Is your child mature enough to know what to do in an emergency?
ii. If there is a fire, is your child mature enough to get out of the house?iii. Is he or she mature enough to get other children out of the house?
Safety Tips for Children Home Alone:
1. Always check with your parents before you go anywhere or do anything. Be sure to check-in regularly with your parents when you’re not with them.
2. Always take a friend with you when playing or going anywhere. It’s safer and more fun.
3. Don’t be tricked by people who offer you special treats or gifts. Never accept anything from anyone without your parents’ permission.
4. Stay safer when you’re home alone:
• Keep the door locked.
• Do not open the door for or talk to anyone who stops by unless the person is a trusted family friend or relative, and the visit has been pre-approved by your parents or guardians.
• Never telling anyone who calls that you’re home by yourself.
• Before you are home alone, talk to you parents about a neighbor or trusted adult you can call if you feel scared, uncomfortable, or there’s an emergency.
5. Never go into a public restroom by yourself.
6. Never go alone to malls, movies, video arcades, or parks. Take a friend with you, and always check first with your parents to make sure it’s okay.
7. Don’t panic if you feel lost. Identify the safest place to go or person to ask for help in reuniting you with your parents or guardians. Safe helpers could be a uniformed law-enforcement or security officer, store salesperson with a nametag, person with a nametag who is working at the information booth. Never search for your parents or guardians on your own, and never go with anyone who is trying to reunite you with them.
8. Be careful when you play.
• Never take shortcuts unless you have your parents’ or guardians’ permission.
• Don’t play near busy streets or deserted areas.
9. Don’t wear clothes or carry items with your name on the outside
• Don’t be confused just because a person you don’t know calls out your name.
10. Don’t get into a vehicle or go near a vehicle with anyone in it unless you are with your parents or a trusted adult.
• Never take a ride from anyone without checking first with your parents or guardians.
11. Don’t be afraid to say NO and GET AWAY from any situation making you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. TRUST YOUR FEELINGS, and be sure to TELL a trusted adult if anything happens to make you feel this way.
More information is available at missingkids.com where you can download a Safety Tip sheet in English or Spanish.