FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Many parents leave their tweens home alone for an extended period of time, even though they are not confident these 11- to 13-year-olds have the knowledge or skills to stay safe, a new poll finds.
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health reports that parents it polled fretted over whether their children could safely use the kitchen appliances, know where to go during a severe storm or give out personal information online or over the phone. Still, one in five of these parents admitted they've let their tweens stay home alone for an entire day.
"There is no magic age at which a child can be left home alone. It typically depends on a parent's judgment about how mature that child is, and how ready they are to take on the responsibility of being home alone," Dr. Matthew M. Davis, director of the National Poll on Children's Health, said in a prepared statement. "Regardless, when parents decide to leave their children home alone, there are several common at-home safety concerns they need to consider and address with kids ahead of time."
The National Poll on Children's Health finds:
"We were surprised to find the proportion of parents who are not very confident their children will follow safety guidelines, even though they are having their tweens stay home alone," said Davis, an associate professor of general pediatrics and internal medicine at the U-M Medical School. "This suggests that more parents need to have conversations with their kids about safety before they leave them home alone."
The Home Safety Council has more about children and safety.
SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, June 10, 2008