Children alone at home

Children alone at home
Children alone at home

Many children have to spend time alone at home while waiting for a parent to come home from work. Here are some safety recommendations, practical during spring break and at all times.


According to the Canada Safety Council, parents who allow their children to stay at home alone or with their siblings must supervise them from a distance.

Whether six or sixteen years old, school-aged children should be supervised by a responsible adult. If you can't be home when your child comes home from school, make them feel like you're watching them.

The Canada Safety Council recommends, among other things, that parents:

  • set firm rules that clearly outline do's and don'ts.prepare the child for anything.
  • to specify what the child should do while alone.
  • phone your child regularly, using a cell phone or pager if necessary.
  • to make sure the house is safe.
  • to limit the amount of time their child spends alone at home.

InIn each province, the age at which children can legally stay home alone varies between 10 and 12 years old. However, a report commissioned by He alth Canada in 1999 found that parents were requesting classes for third-grade children who had to stay home alone.

The CCS recommends that parents not leave their children under the age of ten alone at home. Responsible children who are at least ten years old can spend one or two hours home alone, provided there is a responsible adult who can help them if needed. Age is not the only factor that determines whether a child is able to do well on their own at home. Just think of unsupervised tweens and teens who can sometimes get in more trouble than young children.


To determine if your child is able to stay home alone, take short outings. When you return, ask your child to tell you about their experience. Then increase the amount of time you spend away from home, leaving instructions for your child to follow.

After a few outings, answer these questions:

  • Does your child feel comfortable being alone?
  • Do you feel comfortable leaving your child alone?
  • Can your child follow instructions responsibly?
  • Does it include written or oral instructions? Does he remember?
  • Does yourchild can find constructive activities to do without making mistakes?
  • Can your child cope with normal and unexpected situations?
  • Can you easily communicate with your child when you are away?
  • In case of an emergency, can your child reach someone at all times?

To prepare children for the responsibilities associated with independence, the Canada Safety Council has published the booklet en titled The Smart Resource. This is a booklet that covers problem prevention, how to deal with real situations, and safe and constructive activities.

Kids Home Alone Checklist


  • Display the list of important phone numbers next to each phone, or save these numbers in memory on each phone.
  • Equip your phone with an answering machine or subscribe to a messaging service.
  • Get a caller ID phone with caller ID service. Tell your child to only answer certain calls and let the answering machine or voicemail take all other messages.
  • Install a wireless home monitoring system that will confirm that your child has returned from school and is now safe and sound at home. You can receive the message on your cell phone, at work, on your BlackBerry or by email. Add video camera surveillance and you'll further enhance home security while you're away.

First Aid

Prepare a basic first aid kit with your child, explaining each item and what it is for. Your first aid kit should include the following items:

  • a box of bandages of different sizes for small cuts;
  • sterile gauze pads for large cuts, bandage tape, and scissors;
  • tweezers to remove a splinter;
  • hydrogen peroxide to clean cuts and cotton balls to apply it;
  • a digital thermometer;
  • a cold compress stored in the freezer.


  • Equip all doors and windows with secure locks.
  • Store matches, lighters, medicine, household cleaners and other toxic substances in a safe place. Make sure these items are properly labeled and keep them in their original containers.
  • Keep alcoholic beverages locked up, and make sure they don't mysteriously disappear.
  • Keep firearms and ammunition in separate and locked places.
  • Turn on lights using timers so your child won't walk into a dark house.

Fire Safety

  • Install a smoke detector on each floor (or for ground floor houses, near thekitchen and all bedrooms). Test them regularly.
  • Replace frayed wires and connect no more than two plugs per outlet.
  • Set the water heater to a temperature below 54 C to reduce the risk of scalding.

Power Outages

  • Keep a flashlight or two handy.
  • Don't forget to bring some battery-operated items, eg. ex. radio, clock, electronic games.

Text owned by Canada Safety Council.

Popular topic

Interesting articles
Buy local
Read more

Buy local

Presented by Cascades Fluff & Tuff® If there's one thing we've learned over the past year, it's the importance of local consumption. Summer is well established and it's the perfect time to stock up on local products

Tips to make them play outside
Read more

Tips to make them play outside

It's sunny and warm, but despite everything, some children still refuse to go outside to play. Here are some tips to get them outside for more than a few minutes

Ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day at home
Read more

Ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day at home

Dining out is a Valentine's Day classic. However, for people still living in the red zone, this option is not possible. Here are some ideas to spice up your evening at home