When to leave your child home alone

Kids boarding the school bus.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) --When the school day ends, many parents have to decide whether to chose a day care, or to leave their kids home alone. While just three states have laws in place to answer that question, many states including Michigan leave that decision up to the parents.

“They get a full babysitting certification and also a CPR certification,” said Grand Traverse Bay YMCA Safety Coordinator Angela Howie, as she described her babysitting class. Howie teaches a monthly babysitting and safety course for kids ages 11-15, and says when it comes to leaving a child in charge, safety is key.

“Knowing that they're comfortable to know what to do if there was an emergency is probably the most important thing," Howie explained. "Knowing when it's important to call 9-1-1 or when it would just be important to call the parents.”

In order to prevent an emergency from happening in the first place, kids also should be able to recognize hazards.

"Knowing safety things around the house that they have to keep an eye out for, fire hazards, anything that could be of risk when they're watching children," Howie said.

While the decision of when to be left home alone is ultimately up to the parents, it’s also important that the child feels comfortable too.

“It's just a certain maturity level and making sure they're comfortable and making sure the parents trust them if something happened,” Howie explained.

For a full list of tips and guidelines to leaving your kids home alone, check out THIS LINK from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

To sign up for a babysitting and safety class at the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA, click HERE.

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