More than 40 percent of children are left home alone, 10 years ago that number was less than 20 percent.
In less than two weeks, students across our area are headed back to class. Messenger Post's news partner, News10NBC will be giving you 10 things to know before your kids head back to school and we're following a local family -- the McCoys -- to do it.
A recent study from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry shows more than 40 percent of children are left home alone, 10 years ago that number was less than 20 percent.
For our back to school family, the McCoy kids aren't left home alone often but if they are, they know what to do. Trelawney lays down the rules.
"Don't open the door, I don't even care if it's a relative, don't go outside for any reason unless there's a fire," Trelawney says. "And the most important thing, nobody has to know you're in this house."
Trelawney says they are barely left home without adult supervision, but she has tested her children.
"You take the summertime and train them," Trelawney says. "Say you're going to the store and have someone come and knock, you know...a test."
Lynn Fulmore, president at EPIC Trainings, says that's a great idea for parents to make sure the kids are ready for the responsibility.
"For five or ten minutes home alone, what would you do?" Fulmore says. "Run through all of those things and your expectations of them when they are home by themselves."
Fulmore teaches home alone classes for children to learn the best safety tips. She emphasizes being aware of your surroundings.
"The safety aspect really should start from the moment they get off the bus...should they even get off the bus?" Fulmore says. "Is it even safe, is there an unusual car in the neighborhood, someone walking around or pets?"
Possibly one of the most important pieces of advice is getting your child to trust their instincts.
"Go with your gut, if it doesn't feel right if it doesn't feel safe don't do it," Fulmore says.
More kids are being left at home alone because of the price and availability of childcare.