What to teach keiki if they’re home alone during an emergency

Local News

The search is still on for a man who forced his way into a home in Wahiawa and exposed himself to a child.

Police have yet to release a sketch of the suspect.

On Wednesday, the parents told us they left their children home for a short time, and when they came back, they found a man hiding inside their house naked.

Hawaii does not have a law that makes it illegal to leave young children home alone.

So what should you tell your children if an intruder is breaking into the home and you’re not there? Experts say you should talk to your children, so they know what to do.

Aileen Deese, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Hawaii, says your family should have a plan, so your child knows where you are if someone is entering your home.

Whether you’re running out to the store for a few moments or working, some parents will eventually leave kids home alone for some time.

Deese doesn’t recommend it, but says it happens all the time.

“Talk to the child and see if they are mature enough,” Deese said, “like number one, have a plan. Number two, role play with the child to see if that child is old enough and mature enough that they can understand what to do.”

If your child can get to a phone, establish a password or phrase that will let parents know that something isn’t right.

Make sure the kids know where you are going, when you will be back, and important contact information.

Honolulu police also offer the following tips:

  • Don’t open the door for anyone you don’t know.
  • Keep doors locked, and know how to lock and unlock doors and windows.
  • Tell an adult if you see someone hanging around near your home.

What if an intruder is already inside the home?

According to the state’s crime prevention website, keiki should go to a designated safe place to call for help if something doesn’t seem right, and stay alert for emergencies that would require the need to leave the home.

If you have an alarm for your home, you can also program it in a way that will allow people to walk around inside the house, but will sound if someone is trying to enter.

Titus Napoleon of Aloha Alarm tells us if you don’t have an alarm, learn to protect yourself.

“Number one, be smart. Obviously hide themselves, whether in a closet or lock themselves in a room, but if worse comes to worse, teach them self-defense,” he said.

Get more tips from childwelfare.gov.

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