It’s summertime and if you’re like the majority of American parents that means your kids’ schedules changed.

But yours hasn’t.

So while you still have a regular work schedule and errands to run, your kids are likely sitting at home. Alone.

Which can be scary for both them and you.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of things you should discuss with your children to keep them safe while home alone.

Tip #1: Don’t answer the door for anyone you don’t know

If your kids are left at home on a regular basis, they’re bound to run into this dilemma sooner or later.

We suggest sitting down with your children to discuss (and practice) the following steps:

  • First, make sure the door is locked.
  • Look out the window first, don’t just open the door.
  • Ignore strangers but don’t pretend you aren’t home. Make as much noise as possible or turn on a light to let strangers know that someone is home. Check out this story of a young boy who pretended not to be home which led to burglars breaking into his house.
  • If they have to answer the door in an emergency situation (i.e. police officer at door), set the door chain first. If you have a security door, this will come in handy as this allows your children to open the door and speak freely with someone and still be protected. Don’t have a door chain or security door? Teach your children to ask who it is through the door but don’t open it.
  • Call the police if the person acts strangely (i.e. leaves quickly, is aggressive, etc.).

Related: What to Do When A Stranger Comes Knocking

Tip #2: Don’t post on social media about being home alone

The Pew Research Center states that 95% of kids ages 13-17 are online and that 81% of them use some kind of social media.

Want to keep your kids safe online?

Talk to them regularly about the sites they are using and what information they are sharing online. Above all, warn them to never post online about being home alone. This is a welcome sign for all kinds of evil-doers.

Tip #3: Know what to do in the event of a fire

Does your family have a fire escape plan?

If not, it’s time to discuss what your children should do if there is a house fire. The United States Fire Administration states that the risk of dying in a fire is higher among the very young and very old.

Having a clear fire escape plan and practicing it with your children can help increase their chance of survival in the event of a house fire.

We found a great fire sequence game for younger children that will help familiarize them with the steps to take if there is a house fire.

Related: Are You Prepared For A Fire Emergency?

Tip #4: Keep emergency contact numbers within reach

Make sure that your children know:

  • WHO to contact in the event of an emergency and
  • HOW to contact them

We suggest keeping a detailed list of emergency contacts by every phone in the house. If your children have a cell phone, make sure these numbers are programmed into their phone as well.

Tip #5: Know how (and how not) to answer the phone

So we just covered how the phone can be a sense of security during an emergency.

But don’t forget that phones also introduce a security threat.

If the phone rings, your child should:

  • Never answer with their name, simply answer with a “hello”.
  • Never tell the person on the other end that they are home alone.
  • If the person on the phone asks for their parent, they should say that you are busy and can’t come to the phone.
  • Only offer to take a message, don’t answer any other questions.

Still on edge about leaving your kids at home alone? A home security system offers a comprehensive approach to keeping your children safe at all times.

Safety features such as video monitoring, alarm notifications or even text alerts when your child gets enters or leaves the house can give you peace of mind throughout the summer.

At Ackerman Security, we believe in putting your safety and security first. Contact us to learn more about our home security systems, monitoring and products.