Go through a sleepover checklist

Is your child safe staying overnight at a friend’s home? I would like to share with you a sleepover checklist the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers for free on its website.
It can help parents and caregivers answer the age-old question, “Mom, dad, can I sleep over at a friend’s house?”
Before you say “yes,” go through this checklist:
•How well do you know the home?
—Is the home clean? Does it appear to be structurally sound?
—Is the home on a safe area?
—If the home has security bars on doors and window, do you know for certain that the bars have quick release devices inside so your child could get out in an emergency?
—Is your child comfortable in the home and with all the occupants?
—Are you comfortable leaving your child in the home overnight?
•How well do you know the parent(s) or caregiver(s)?
—Are they mature, responsible, and conscientious?
—Will they supervise the children throughout the stay?
—Will they remain sober and attentive?
—Are they cautious with smoking materials, matches and lighters, and candles?
•Ask the parent(s) or caregiver(s):
—Are there working smoke alarms on every level throughout their home?
—Do they have a well-rehearsed fire escape plan that includes two ways out and a meeting place outside?
—Where will your child be sleeping? Is there a smoke alarm in or near the room? Are there two escape routes form the room?
—Will the parents or caregivers walk through their escape plan with your child?
—Do the parents prohibit bedroom candle use by child?
•Tell the parent(s) or caregiver(s):
—About your home escape plan and fire protection equipment you have in your home.
—That you will walk their child through your plan when invited to stay overnight in your home.
•Does your child:
—Recognize and awaken to the sound of the smoke of the smoke alarm? If not, tell the sleepover parents or caregivers that your child does not waken to the smoke alarm and that someone will have to wake them in an emergency.
—Know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds?
—Know that he or she cannot hide from fire and that the top priority is to get out and stay out until firefighters say it is safe to go back inside?
—Know the fire department emergency number?
—Feel empowered to ask about friend’s escape plan?
—Feel empowered to tell you if there is a dangerous practice or situation at the friend’s home
Remember, if you never need what you learn about personal safety, you have lost nothing. But if you never learn what you need, you may lose everything . . . your family and your life!
Safety—it starts with you!
Tyler J. Moffitt served with the OPP, as well as 15 years as a firefighter and emergency responder.

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