How old does a child need to be in order to be left at home alone? How about with siblings? Once you make that call, how do you ensure that they are safe and that their experience isn’t a negative one?
Most states have no minimum age laws (Illinois, Maryland and Oregon are the exceptions with minimum ages set at 14, 8 and 10 respectively) preferring instead to let the parents decide for themselves when their child is mature enough. Children are all different and have different needs and while one child may be ready to be left alone at 10, another might not be ready until much later. Generally it’s probably best not to let a child under the age of 10 be alone except for very brief periods and certainly infants and toddlers should never be left alone, even for a few minutes.
Be that as it may, here are some tips to help in giving your child this type of independence:
– When you believe that your child is old enough, start by leaving them alone for a short period of time. As they show that they can handle it and don’t show unusual behavior (acting more nervous or fearful, suddenly having nightmares or other behavior changes that might signal fear that they might not be vocalizing) you can start extending the time.
– Make sure that your child knows how to calmly dial 911 and knows what to say.
– Make sure that the child knows his or her full name as well as the address of the house where they are.
– Make sure that they have your phone number memorized as well (It isn’t enough to have it set up in their cell phone. Cell phones can break and die and they need to know how to get a hold of you if this should happen.
– Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal clues about how the child feels about being alone in the house. Don’t force the child until he or she is ready.
– Make sure that the child knows how to work the security system if you have one installed; make sure they also know what to do if the alarm goes off.
– Walk through several scenarios with them such as what to do if there is someone at the front door, what to do if they see or hear someone walking around outside, what to say if someone calls, what to do in the event of a storm, tornado or other inclement weather, what to do if the power goes out (make sure you leave flashlights and let the child know where they are in case of power outage), etc…
– Set a time (or times, if the stay is longer) when the child needs to check in with you (This is a great test to see if they can follow orders and take responsibility).
– Let them know that this is a privilege but also a responsibility and because of that there are certain rules that if broken will result in them no being allow to be alone in the house again until they show that they are mature enough to abide by the rules (e. g. no friends get to come over, rules about how much TV or computer times they are allowed and what they are allowed to view, rules and restrictions about cooking, etc…)
– Finally make sure that the environment you are leaving them in is a safe one. Lock up all guns and firearms. Make sure that drugs and alcohol is locked up as well. Make sure that matches and lighters are put away too.
Being a good parent is all about leading a child from dependency on you, as the parent to independence and leaving them alone at home, in a safe environment is certainly one of the steps in this process. A little preparation, dialogue and instruction can make this transition easier and more worry free.
An employee gets injured. Is the injury serious enough to justify a trip to the ER? If you don’t take the employee to the ER and there are complications you didn’t foresee, are you opening yourself up to a multi-million dollar law-suit?
Unless your company is large enough to justify the cost of a full-time nurse on staff, these are questions that you need to address. Telemedicine is technology that seeks to solve these issues. It isn’t necessary new but it is starting to catch on more and more.
Telemedicine is “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.” (source: http://www.americantelemed.org)
Telemedicine makes sense. Modern technology, including the inclusion of webcams on most computers and tablets nowadays means that remote diagnostics isn’t prone to the same errors it was when it relied on an untrained eye to relay that information back the doctor. The early days saw telemedicine being a stop gap for field operatives who used radios to speak to a doctor and take appropriate action. Now with video, doctors half a world away are able to see the patient and the injury in order to determine whether he or she needs to be taken to the ER.
In today’s work world, telemedicine makes great sense. You aren’t a doctor and you can’t always know how serious an injury is. Setting up a telemedicine account one way to protect yourself as well as your employees.
Learn more about it and get set up at http://www.americantelemed.org
Note: I do not work for American Telemed, nor am I getting paid for mentioning them. This is simply a post about a system that makes sense. There are other companies out there who offer similar services.
On June 2, 2014, the EPA, in an attempt to help the Obama Climate Action Plan, came out with the Clean Power Plan Proposal which sought to cut emissions from the coal mining power plants. Two months later, in August 2014, 12 states filed a case against the EPA claiming that the costs of reducing emissions as much as the EPA was requesting would cost jobs and possibly force closures.
This past Monday the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA hadn’t adequately studied the cost of the proposed plan and ruled against the EPA essentially telling them to rewrite the plan with proper assessments and analysis with regards to costs.
The Supreme Court chided the EPA, telling them that they cannot simply write out plans and proposals without first considering the costs in time, money and jobs, calling the EPA “out-of-control”.
Needless to say, the EPA was no happy about the decision, claiming that most of the power plants were already well on their way to being compliant.
If you’re in charge of safety at your company and you’re constantly in the hot seat about how the safety budget directly affects profits, Kevin Burns has the book you need; even better, it’s free to download.
The name of the book is “Running with Scissors – 10 Reasons to Invests in Safety in Slow Times”
Read all about the book and download it for free at http://www.kevburns.com/running-with-scissors