Home alone safety encouraged for kids this summer

Home alone safety encouraged for kids this summer

Posted:
LUBBOCK, Texas -

School is out and kids are on vacation.

With vacation, however, comes more time spent at home while parents are working or running errands.

Kathryn Wirz, an instructor at Hodges Community Center, said she teaches home alone safety training.

"We talk about emergency situations kids might come into staying home alone, but we also talk about just everyday situations that they'll be doing," Wirz said.

These situations can include unexpected visitors, phone calls and emergencies, such as a house fire, she said. Kids need to know how to react to these situations.

"It's surprising how many kids that we have will come in and not have any sort of baseline knowledge of how to act and what to do when they're home alone," Wirz said.

The class lays out a plan. When home alone, kids should lock all doors and windows, call their parents to let them know they are safe, never answer the phone and keep themselves occupied.

"Something that's happened before in Lubbock is someone pretending to be an LP&L dispatcher, going to houses saying, 'Hey, we need in for this and that reason,' going trying to take advantage of children," Wirz said.

In situations like these, she said kids need to ensure the person is who they say they are.

"Make sure you see the outfit, you see the car, the badge, whatever you need to do," she said.

If a child smells smoke or thinks there may be a fire in the house, they should leave immediately, not stopping for anything. They should then go to a neighbor's home and call 9-11. Parents should also have an escape plan in place.

Before leaving their children alone, Wirz said parents should set rules and expectations, as the best way to stay safe is to have a plan.

"In Texas, because there's not a legal age for kids to be when they're left home alone, it's just up to parents discretion ... so it's just even that much more important," Wirz said.

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