At what age do you leave your child home alone?

It's a question that many debate during summer and the answer is still fuzzy. When are kids old enough to stay home alone? 

The National Safe Kids campaign says no child under 12 should be left home alone, but most state including Michigan do not have laws about this. 

Many experts agree, this comes down to parental discretion:

-Do you live in a safe area?
-Does your child show good judgment? 
-Is there an adult close by in case of emergency?   

Kids need to be well-prepared with a lot of information, understanding who to call in an emergency, knowing the real potential risks that are in certain rooms like knives or the stove in the kitchen and they need to know that there's risks they can't see. 

Here are key steps in establishing rules before leaving kids home alone.

-Kitchen use - is the child allowed to use the stove or microwave or knives? 
-Computer use 
-Answering the door/phone 
-Which friends are allowed over when you're not home.

Make lists - write those rules down and list information kids need - when you post that information it empowers kids and constantly reminds them of the rules. 

And check in, call every couple of hours to touch base.

This is an emergency contact sheet, easy to print and you can hang it inside a cabinet so if there is a crisis, the numbers are readily available. 

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