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How to know if your child is ready to be home alone

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 5:35 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It’s a decision many families are struggling to make at the beginning of this school year: Is now the right time for your child to be home alone?

According to the Eau Claire Police Department, there is no legal age in statute for a child to stay home alone. 10 years old is the general guideline, but of course it all depends on the child. Health experts and law enforcement say the three of the most important questions a family needs to answer are if caregivers believe the child is ready, if the home and neighborhood are generally safe, and if the child feels ready.

The Red Cross has a number of resources to help prepare children for emergencies, including a free app called Monster Guard that allows the child to play games and practice important safety drills. All of these activities are meant to be done together as a family.

“Knowing what to do...it’ll help you as you go through this and then that goes right to your kids,” said Kyle Kriegl, the executive director of Red Cross of Northwest Wisconsin Chapter. “Showing that you’re calm, you know what’s going to happen, you have some idea of what to do in emergencies, that goes right to your kids and they pick up on that right away. "

UW-Extension also has a helpful web page filled with videos and activities to try out with your family. There are guides on everything from fire safety to medical emergencies to how to get along with your siblings when there’s no adult at home.

Click here to view the resources from the Red Cross.

Click here to view the resources from UW-Extension.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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