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Ask An Expert

“Child Safe Canada's 'Ask An Expert' is the only resource for safety related questions”

Your Questions: Answered

Ever wondered about what age you child needs to be, before being left at home alone? Wondered about how to keep you child safe coming and going from school? These any many vital questions are answered each week by our staff of professional safety experts. Child Safe Canada knows that when you have a question regarding the safety of your child you need a solid and straight up answer, and we deliver answers you can trust. Turn to Child Safe Canada when you need professionals that you can trust!

When can I leave my child home alone?

This is a questions that is asked daily to Child Safe Canada instructors! The age at which children in Canada can legally be left at home alone for reasonable and short periods of time varies from province to province, ranging anywhere from 10 to 12 years. Some provinces place that decision into a parent’s hands ( assuming they are responsible and not placing a child in harm’s way). At Child Safe Canada we support all laws governing the care and safety of children and gear our programs to adhere to provincial laws. Further to these provincial laws,your responsibility as a parent, is to assess all the risks and benefits to your child and make a responsible and safe choice. Just because your provincial laws states that your child may be left alone at age 11, does not mean that ALL youth in that age will act responsibly and react safely in an emergency and thus should NOT be left alone.

Child Safe Canada teaches that being home alone is:

"not an EVENT but instead it is a PROCCESS!"

Being home alone should be a process that is initiated in gradual and supervised stages. Start with small periods of time, and slowly increase with the child’s skills and growing maturity level. Make sure that at all times your child is remotely supervised, supported, and has direct access to assistance in difficult or frightening situations. Regularily reinforce the lessons learned in this class and most importantly, talk to your child about how they feel. Monitor closely the process ;and offer or revoke 'home alone’ time to coincide with the child's demostrated level of maturity.

"If you are not sure if it’s time for your child to be home isn’t"

What is the rate of pay for babysitting?

This is a tough questions to answer. It really depends on many factors; how much babysitting experience you have, what will your responsibilities be, do you have you Red Cross babysitter's certificate, how many children will you be babysitting, and how much can the family afford. Most youth start at around $4.00/hour when providing babysitting services. Discuss this with the family BEFORE you babysit, they will appreciate your prefessional attitude for asking. Many babysitters have flexible rates for families that they babysit for often and even offer to babysit for free occassionally. Don't feel rude for bringing up this topic, you're a trained and safe babysitter and people are confident knowing that you have your Red Cross babysitters course, and will expect to discuss rate of pay with you.

How do I know if my child's bike is to small and I need to buy a new one?

The rule of thumb is that a child should be able to stand above their bike seat on the balls of their feet, with the seat  right against the crotch area. If they can't keep both feet on the ground, the bike is too big. If they have clearance below their crotch, or they can keep their feet flat on the ground the bike or seat is too low. You may not have to buy a new bike just try adjusting the seat up. There is a bolt for adjusting just under the seat. make sure it is very tight after any adjustments so that the seat does not slide down during riding.