Staying Home Alone


By Rochelle Dean


School is out and summer vacations is in full swing. That does not mean however, parents always get to take a break.

More working parents are opting to leave their children, who would normally be in school, at home by themselves. So how do you know if they are ready for the overwhelming responsibility?

Area Pediatrician, Dr. Deborah Greenhouse says there is no correct answer since children all mature at different levels and ages.
South Carolina does not have a law in place that mandates how old a child must be, although lawmakers suggest ages 9 and under may be too young. Dr. Greenhouse says that is a question only a parent can answer.

If the thought has crossed your mind and you think your child may be ready to stay home alone while you are working over the next few weeks, here are some questions you may want to ask.

* Is your child comfortable with the idea of being left at home alone?
* Does your child understand basic safety?
* Does your child know how to handle an emergency?
* Does your child know basic first aid and where supplies are stored?
* What would your child do if a stranger was spotted in your yard?
* What would your child do if someone knocked at the back door?
* What would your child do if there was a fire?
* What would your child say if someone called and asked for you?
* what would your child do if he/she were locked out of the house?
* What would your child do if there was a power outage or a severe
weather warning?
* Would your child be able to take care of another sibling?
* Would they know how to treat that sibling if they became ill?
* Does your child know how to operate your home security system?
* Can you child get himself a snack or sandwich if necessary?
* Are there firearms in your home and are they secured?
* Is there a trusted relative or neighbor nearby?
* Does your child have the ability to contact you if you are away?

If you answered no to several of these questions, you may want to think twice about leaving your child in your home unattended.
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