Do your children know what to do in an emergency?

Are your children starting to stay home alone? Help prepare them for the unexpected with the following tips by Susan Bowles, RN, BSN, a community education instructor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital:

  • Communicate. Work together with your children to come up with a plan of action for different emergency situations, including fires, injuries, accidental poisonings, tornado warnings and strangers at the door. Then, once your plans are developed, regularly revisit them over time and make changes as needed.
  • Establish the rules. What you are OK with your children doing when you are home may differ from what they can do when you are away. Make sure they know the difference.
  • Invest in a first aid kit. Keep it stocked with adhesive bandages of various sizes, triple antibiotic ointment and something that can be used to clean wounds, such as soap and water, a saline wash or antiseptic wipes.
  • Keep a hard copy of your emergency contacts in an easy to find location. This should include the full names, phone numbers and addresses for you, your spouse, other important family members and/or contacts (such as a trusted neighbor), as well as the contact information for 911 and Poison Control.

St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Staying Home Alone class provides children with the information and resources necessary to feel more confident staying home without parental supervision. For more information or to register, visit