How your kids can stay safe when they're home alone

By Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor

DETROIT - Odds are at one point or another your child will be left home alone. But does your child really know the safety tips they should?

Local 4 Defenders and Local 4 safety experts are teaming up to make sure your child is prepared.

Former Detroit Police Detective Tom Berry says the first thing children should know is what to do when someone knocks on the door.

"I don't want them to answer it. I want them to say, 'Who is it? Hang on my dad is in the shower, let me go get him.' That guy, if he had bad thoughts, he is out of here. He doesn't want trouble," Berry said. "Then, if they do take off, we want the child to dial 911."

The child should call 911 even if the person leaves because that person might target another home.

As far as best place to hide?

Berry says it's the basement. He recommends children find a corner, even behind the furnace.

He also recommends under a child's bed or in a child's closet.

"Of all the people I have interviewed, and my police department, over all the years, no one looks under a child's bed," Berry says. "We don't hide valuables there, guns there, or our money there -- so we are not going to look there."

"I would go the furthest place I could go," he says.

The worst place a child could hide?

Berry says it's in the home's master bedroom.

"When they break into your home, the first place they are going to go is the master bedroom. They go for your jewelry and valuables, which is always in one of your drawers cause that's what girls do," Berry says.

Some other safety tips to discuss with your children about:

Have your children check in with you when they are home alone - either by phone call or text. Tell them to leave a message if you don't pick up.

Likewise, come up with a plan for answering phone calls - when they should and when they shouldn't.

Come up with plan about whether friends are allowed to come over or if your children are allowed to leave the house to play outside or to walk to another friend's house.

See if another parent in the neighborhood will be home when you're not and offer to swap a favor by having them check in physically with your kids.

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