Trooper Rob: Are your children safe at home alone?Published 8:58am Thursday, October 10, 2013
Readers, I apologize for missing the past two weeks.
My chain of command authorized me to enhance my crime scene investigation skills by sending me to New Jersey for Bloodstain Pattern Analysis School. It was excellent training.
I also toured the Jersey Shore and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy is still present. Talking with the citizens I encountered showed that we as humans are resilient and strong. The New Jersey citizens are strong and responding to the tragedy by working together and coming together as a whole community to get life back to normal.
Sex offender registries in Michigan and Indiana are good tools for parents. These records are public records and a great tool for neighborhood watch groups also. This should be a website parents can check before leaving children home alone, as described in this week’s parent tip. Most people registered on this list are compliant and follow all the rules about school, daycare, and park restrictions. There are many people who are not on the list and may be predators. Suspicious situations may be called in to the police. If you notice any discrepancy with addresses on these lists, please call your jurisdictional police.
For Michigan, the site is www.pipsor.state.mi.us. For Indiana, it is www.icrimewatch.net/Indiana.php.
Parent Tip: Who is at your house right now? Are you sure? As parents, it is up to us to educate and prepare our children to assume the responsibilities of being “home alone.” Each child is ready to assume this responsibility at different times based on his/her maturity level. It is important to set house rules, establish routines, and educate your children about emergency procedures before they are left alone. Lastly, monitoring is very important during this time. Check in to make sure that house rules are being followed and acknowledge your children when they make good choices during this time.
House rules: 1. Don’t allow other children over to your home when you are not home. 2. Establish a protocol on how to answer the phone and door when you are not there. 3. Establish limits on television, phone, and computer time.
Set a routine: 1. Lock all doors behind you. 2. Call a parent or designated person at a certain time to “check in.” 3. Help with household chores (i.e. pet care, dishes, etc.)
Emergency procedures: 1. Post emergency numbers and contacts including family members and family doctor’s name and number. 2. Keep a basic first aid kit for emergencies. 3. Go over emergency escape routes, meeting places, and plans for sudden illness or injury.
Are they ready?
There are things to consider as you are determining whether or not your child is ready to be left alone: 1. AGE: Experts believe that 12 is the youngest that a child should be left alone and 15 before they can care for siblings. 2. MATURITY: Can they think things through, plan ahead, and make good decisions? 3. ENVIRONMENT: Is the neighborhood safe? Are there people nearby that can be trusted to help watch out for your child? 4. THEIR FEELINGS: Are they nervous about being alone? If so, they may not be ready. Also think about how long they will be left alone. They may be fine for an hour or two but a whole day may be too long.
Please email questions or comments at TrooperRob53@Yahoo.Com or leave me voicemail with your questions or comments at 269-683-4411. I appreciate the feedback and participation with this article.
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