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More kids are being left home alone, psychologist calls it another pandemic problem


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    WOODLAND, California (KOVR) — A 13-year-old home alone defended herself as a prowler tried to break into her Woodland house in the middle of the day.

It’s the latest in a string of emergencies for kids who are spending more and more time by themselves this year.

Nyletta Lincoln, 13, was home alone last Friday when a stranger came banging at her door.

“He busted the locks on the inside,” said Lincoln. “I grabbed my baseball bat and I ran into the living room and he was there and he yelled ‘Let me in!’ and I screamed ‘No!’ and I kicked the door into his face.”

The middle schooler who just turned 13 after the incident, ran to a back room to call 911. She initiated her safety plan that her dad taught her during the pandemic.

“It is kind of scary if you think about all the things that could happen,” she said. “My parents work in Vacaville and I’m usually home alone, we know that anything like this can happen.”

Woodland Police arrived minutes later to find a man still trying to break-in.

In California, there is no state law specifying when a child can be left home alone.

“I don’t think it is an aged-based decision to leave your child at home. I think it depends on their ability to react in a stressful situation,” said Sgt. Victoria Danzl.

Danzl said Lincoln made all the right moves.

“She handled herself very well and was able to give a pretty good accounting of what occurred afterward,” said Danzl.

Lincoln’s case is the latest in a string of emergencies this month throughout Northern California while parents aren’t at home. In early December an 11-year old Woodbridge boy shot and killed himself while distance learning. A girl the same age in Foothill Farms was rushed to the hospital in grave condition after a house fire, no adults were home at the time.

Clinical Child psychologist Melanie Ernould explains more are staying kids home alone, highlighting another pandemic problem.

“I don’t think for some families there is a choice that they can even make, they have to have food on the table, they have to make money, they may feel lucky to have the job that they have, so their kids are just going to have to be at home. It’s survival mode, especially with the economy and jobless, there isn’t a choice, I think having a choice is a privilege,” said Ernould.

Ernould suggests if parents have to leave their kids at home, families should have a safety plan.

“Having a plan that parents talk with their kids about if they do have to be left alone. In terms of the isolation, if parents, when they are home, can spend one-on-one time with their kids to make sure their kids are getting that,” she said.

Lincoln said while it was a scary situation, she is proud she practiced her safety plan to know what to do.

“I felt glad of myself and I felt like I accomplished something,” said Lincoln.

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