Culture & Entertainment

5 things to ask before your child sleeps over (do you have pythons?)

By: Jennifer Gruden
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

5 things to ask before your child sleeps over (do you have pythons?)

By: Jennifer Gruden

I am so sad for the family suffering the loss of two boys this weekend in an alleged python attack. They were being hosted on a sleepover/slumber party by the owner of a reptile store and, well...this is just a bizarre story. I don't know about you, but killer pythons were not (before today anyway) on my radar as hazards to worry about while my child is sleeping over at his friend's down the street. It is not a bad time to think these issues through though, so here are 5 things you should ask about before your child stays over anywhere. I have asked these questions, with the exception of the gun question (only because so far, I have known there were none in the house), and it is awkward. But then I could sleep at night, so for me it was a fair trade-off. 1. Who will be home? It probably goes without saying that you'll have at least done a "gut check"on the other parents, but remember that siblings and visitors will have access to your child as well. You don't have to ask for police checks before your child stays over somewhere, but if you find out that a teenage sibling is having a bunch of friends over the same weekend you might choose a different time. 2. What are the rules at your house? Comparing safety rules, Internet and video game rules and any other concerns are a really great way to check in that the other parents are on the same page as you are. It also helps to prepare a younger child if any of the house rules are different from home. 3. Do you have a backyard pool? Drowning remains the second leading cause of injury-related death for Canadian children (after motor vehicle accidents.) It's a good idea to remind your own child not to swim unsupervised, but it's also not a bad idea to ask whether the pool is accessible from inside the house. (Source: Parachute Canada) 4. Is there a gun in the house, and if so, how is it stored? Firearm injuries among boys age 15 to 19 cause more deaths than fires, falls and drowning combined. (Source: caringforkids.ca) 5. How will my child be able to get in touch with me? If your child doesn't have his or her own cell phone, it's a good idea to make it clear that you expect that your child will be able to call you any time. Some families have a code phrase -- for example, "I have a sore throat" means "come pick me up now" -- to spare a child any embarrassment in asking to go home. Rule #2 seems particularly relevant to me, since when I had just turned 10 I attended a birthday party at a friend's dad's apartment and watched my first horror film, Poltergeist. I can't say my parents were thrilled. For more safety tips check out our summer safety game. And on a lighter note, we've got crafts for slumber party fun. How do you navigate sleepovers with your kids?
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5 things to ask before your child sleeps over (do you have pythons?)

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