Children put safety first this summer - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Children put safety first this summer

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MERRILL (WAOW) -

As the clock winds down on the school year, families are setting their summer plans.

For some children in central Wisconsin, no more school might mean staying at home without adult supervision.

Merrill firefighter John Kraegenbrink and public safety instructor says classes can keep accidents from happening.

"We strive at prevention," said Kraegenbrink.

The Merrill Parks and Recreation Department held a home alone safety class on Saturday.

Officials from the Merrill police and fire departments gave children tips for how to be safe when their parents aren't home this summer.

"They need to know for their safety, for their sibling's safety, what to do in case an emergency happens," said Kraegenbrink.

Kraegenbrink talked about planning home escape plans in case of a fire.

A police officer explained what to do when strangers knock at the door.

"When a stranger knocks, we should not open it," said David Schwark, a 12-year-old.

Schwark says because of this class, he feels more confident to stay home without his parents.

"I still feel safe," said Schwark.

His mother, Kris Schwark says she thinks these tips teach children how to be more independent.

"They develop that self sense of confidence and can continue to expand more time at home," said Schwark.

Merrill Parks and Recreation Department leaders say another option for kids staying home alone is to join summer day camps. Dawn Smith, the administrative assistant, say they're gearing up for their own summer programs and summer fun.

"We offer field trips, we offer crafts, activities," said Smith. "We want our kids to stay busy. We want them to stay active and have a fun summer."

Firefighters say they hope the children will use what they learned.

"They can use it to prevent injuries," said Kraegenbrink. "They can use it to prevent fires and they can use it to stay safe."

Officials say there is not a legal age for when a child can be left at home alone.

They say parents usually base their decision on their child's maturity level.

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