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Children's Health

When Tweens Are Home Alone

Many Parents of Preteens Fail to School Them on Safety Issues, Poll Suggests
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Too Few Parents Discuss Safety

The poll results make it clear that too few parents are talking to their children about safety prior to leaving them home alone, Davis says.

Nashville first-grade teacher and mother of three Michelle Allison and her husband, John, are among the exceptions.

On the occasions when tween daughters Emily, now almost 13, and Sophie, who is 11, are left at home alone for an hour or two, they know the rules. Eight-year-old Carter does not stay home without a parent.

"We run around like crazy most of the time taking one to lessons and another to practice, so this has become a big issue," Michelle says. "When the girls are home alone they know not to answer the door and no cooking. When we're gone, it's cold Pop Tarts."

The girls also have cell phones, and they are told to keep them close and answer them when their parents are not home.

"We have to be able to contact them at all times," she says.

Finally, John has placed content-blocking software on all five computers in the couples' home.

"The Internet is always a concern, so you have to monitor it carefully," Michelle says.

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