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COURSE OVERVIEW

Is your child ready to stay home alone? Help your child prepare for independence with the Home Alone Safety for Kids course! Practical and convenient, this self-guided and self-paced tutorial helps to build a child’s confidence through engaging games, rich digital media, videos and colorful graphics that equip youth with skills for a lifetime of safety. It provides valuable life skills for your child and peace of mind for parents and caregivers.

COURSE TOPICS

Signs Your Child May Be Ready To Stay Home Alone

While every child matures differently, there are some signs that indicate your child may be ready to stay home without adult supervision for short periods of time. These signs will help parents, guardians and caregivers gage their child’s readiness.

  • Your child is at least 10 years of age.
  • Your child follows family rules and instructions.
  • Your child knows his/her full name, address, major intersections and phone number.
  • Your child knows and understands when to contact 911.
  • Your child is not afraid to stay home alone.
  • Your child knows what to do when the unexpected arises.
  • Your child knows basic first aid, where the first aid kit is and how to use its contents
  • Your child knows how to lock the door routinely and safeguard the key
  • Your child knows how to contact a trusted adult if needed.

Once families feel comfortable leaving children without direct adult supervision, parents or caregivers must actively make every effort to ensure the child’s safety.

Check with local laws and guidelines

Please check your community’s child protection services for local guidelines or laws regarding the recommended minimum age to leave a child home alone. This varies from province to province and state to state. Parents should be mindful of the fact that not all children mature at the same age and that age is not the only factor to consider when deciding a child’s readiness.

Temperament, capacity, maturity, access to Emergency Medical Services, willingness are also factors to consider. Parents or caregivers should not force a child to stay home alone if they are not ready. Taking the home alone course will help youths develop many essential safety skills, but it does not guarantee that a child will be ready to stay on their own.

This is a judgement call for parents, guardians and caregivers as they know the child’s abilities best.

At What Age Can A Child Stay Home Alone?

Canada

The Canadian government has not officially defined a legal age for leaving a child home alone. However, provincial child welfare acts in Manitoba and New Brunswick specifically state that children under the age of 12 cannot be left home alone. In other provinces, parents must adhere to guidelines provided by child protection agencies. As a general recommendation, child protection agencies advise that children under 10 should not be left alone, and even then, only for short durations.

United States

In the United States, only three States currently have laws regarding a minimum age for leaving a child home alone. Illinois law requires children to be 14 years old before being left alone; in Maryland, the minimum age is 8, while in Oregon, children must be 10 before being left home alone.

SOS 4 Kids recommends that a child be at least 10 years old and only when parents consider their child to be responsible and ready. A child who is not willing or ready should never be left home alone.

Not all ten-year-olds possess the necessary responsibility or maturity to be left unsupervised, even in a safe setting. Parents, as they know their child’s abilities best, have the responsibility of making a judgment call. Children’s safety knowledge empowers wise decisions, prevents injuries, and handles emergencies effectively.

ONLINE COURSE DURATION

Approximately 90 minutes

PASS MARK

To receive a certificate of completion, participants must achieve a minimum mark of 80%. Participants who do not attain the pass mark on the first attempt have two opportunities to retake the course.

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION

Upon successful completion of the Home Alone Safety for Kids course, a certificate of completion will be available for download and printing.

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