It’s never too early to start talking to your children about how to stay safe at home — after all, household safety for kids has likely been on the top of your mind since you brought your first baby home. Kids of all ages have a knack for getting into things they shouldn’t, so whether your preschooler is only in the next room, or you’re considering leaving teen home alone, a solid set of home safety rules can go a long way in teaching them the skills they need to act responsibly.
From discussing kitchen and fire safety for children to teaching them how to contact the authorities if an accident happens, these essential safety talk ideas cover all the basics.
Kitchen safety for kids
Rule number 1 when it comes to kitchen safety for kids: they should always ask permission before cooking something, especially when they’re home alone. Age-appropriate kitchen skills will help lay the groundwork for your child to use the kitchen safely and confidently.
Starting at a young age, teach your child the importance of knife safety, including how to use them properly. They should know never to leave a hot stove or stovetop unattended, and limit distractions like loud music or talking on the phone when cooking. Keep a fire extinguisher in an easy-to-reach area and make sure your child knows where it is and how to use it. In the event of a cooking fire, it’s best to leave the home and call for help right away.
Fire safety for kids
First and foremost, teach your child from a young age never to play with matches or lighters. Keep all matches and lighters out of reach and set a rule that your older children are not to light any candles when they’re home alone.
If a fire breaks out, a well-versed fire safety plan can help them act fast. Your child should know at least two ways out of every room, in case the fire is blocking their main escape route. Practice your plan a couple of times of year, being sure to cover all fire scenarios.
For the best protection, smoke detectors should be installed on every level and in every sleeping area of your home. Make sure your child knows what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do if it goes off.
Consider installing a smoke detector that’s part of a full home security system with 24/7 monitoring that can send a response if an alarm is triggered. When they’re part of a “smart” system, like the one from Xfinity Home, smoke detectors can send an alert directly to your smartphone notifying you of the situation if you’re not home.
With kids staying home alone, it’s important to talk about what to do in the event of people coming to the door. Keep all doors and windows locked and instruct your children not to answer the door to strangers. Install a home security system and show your child how to arm it.
For the maximum control when you’re not home, look for a system that also allows you to watch livestream footage of your security cameras on your mobile device, so you can keep an eye on who’s coming to the door. With door sensors installed, you can receive notifications when doors are opened. Xfinity Home offers a WiFi-enabled security system that connects directly to your smartphone. With it, you’ll be able to monitor footage, use smart lock technology, and more.
Keep your emergency numbers on the fridge or in another easy-to-see spot so your child can easily find them if there is a fire, accident, or other emergency. Most older kids and teens know not to call authorities unless it’s a true emergency, but it’s still worth talking to them about who to call in certain situations. For example, if the kitchen sink is overflowing, they should call you. If the kitchen is on fire, leave the home and call 911. It sounds obvious, but kids can easily panic if they don’t know what to do, so talking to them and going over specific scenarios can help them stay calm.
Whether you have young kids just learning about safety and responsibility or a teen who is ready to be a little more independent, teaching kids about safety can bring the whole family peace of mind.