GREENSBORO, N.C.-- The Greensboro Police Department (GPD) is preparing parents, babysitters and other adults to be ready for children's return to school. For working parents, this will mean some children, also known as "latchkey" kids, will be left home alone until adults arrive.
According to GPD, the phrase latchkey kids actually originated in the early 1800s, when youngsters who were responsible for their own care wore the key to their home tied on a string around their necks. Today, however, with an increasing number of parents who work, there are even more latchkey kids left home alone after school, and many of them care for younger siblings, too.
Officers recommend that parents consider these questions for latchkey kids:
- Have and enforce a set of predetermined rules--which is critical for your child's safety and your peace of mind
- How long will your child be home alone? Will it be during the morning hours before school or the afternoon hours after school?
- Will he be required to fix himself a snack or a meal?
- Will she be alone? If siblings are under her care, is she capable of this and willing to do so?
- How child-safe is your home?
- Do you believe your neighborhood is safe?
- Is there someone close by whom he can call if there is an emergency? Does the child know where to find that phone number?
Other resources (WFMY New 2):
- Keep law enforcement numbers handy, posted and programmed into your child's phone if she or he has one.
- Check the NC Sex Offender Registry or the one in your state
- Have your child or children take CPR classes
- Go over fire, evacuation and severe weather plans
- Have and practice home fire and tornado drills
YOUR TAKE: If you have latchkey kids, what are your rules? At what age do you determine your child is ready to be left home alone until you arrive?
Facebook or tweet @WFMY your response, use hashtag #latchkey