Frequently Asked Questions
The Latchkey Kids calling program is designed and developed by Database Systems Corp. This programs checks on the well being of children left at home alone, typically when their parents are still at work.
DSC provides an online registration service for parents to enroll their kids into this service. To register, the parent must fill out information on our website that describes the profile of the child to be called as well as the contacts required to provide proper notification if the child does not respond to the calls.
Here are a few of the most common questions asked by parents when enrolling their children.
What is the Latchkey Kids calling service
This program is designed to let parents set the dates and times when an automatic call is placed to your child's phone (usually the home phone).
The child is instructed to "Press 1" if everything is OK (meaning they are at home).
If there is no answer (or an answer machine), CARE notifies the parent or guardian by phone and/or email.
What is the minimum age for a home alone child?
The minimum age for a home alone child varies based upon your location. Very few states have specific age laws, but those that do have minimum ages between 8 and 13 years of age.
The article Home Alone Children "At What Age Can A Child Be Left Alone?" discusses many of the issues faced by parents when deciding to let their child stay at home alone.
For a listing of states with laws and legal ages for home alone children, visit the Latchkey Kids Age Restrictions web page.
How do I get started?
First, you'll need to fill out all of the information on the control page. This includes the phone number to monitor, the weekly schedule for making the calls, and the contacts for the notification procedure. Next, you'll need to fund the account and then turn on the monitoring.
Why must I register by calling from subscriber's phone?
Calling from the subscriber's phone number ensures that the individual enrolling the subscriber has complete access to the subscribers household. This is simply a security measure to ensure that the enrollment is legitimate.
Is my account fully set up?
For the system to begin making calls, the following items need to be taken care of ...
Anything showing in red will prevent calls from starting.
- 'Phone Number to Monitor' must be set
- The 'Notification Procedure' needs at least a 'Primary Phone' entered.
- The time zone should be selected and the calling schedule should be completed.
- The account needs to be funded. Monitoring must be set from 'turned off' to 'active'.
What is the 'Phone Number to monitor'?
The 'Phone Number to Monitor' is the phone number you would like us to call to check on your child. It is most likely your home phone number.
To set or change this number, you will need to call into our toll-free number provided on the 'Phone Number to Monitor' page and enter a 6 digit code unique to your account (for security purposes).
How do I set the call schedule?
First, select "Call" or "Off Day" for each day of the week. Next, click the 'hour' and 'minute' for each calling day. The selected times will be highlighted in blue. Click the "Save Changes" button when you've finished setting the schedule. Reveiw the 'Calling Schedule' section of the main control page to confirm the schedule is set as you wanted.
How many times will the system call my child?
If the first call cannot go through, or the child does not press '1' to indicate he or she is OK, then the system will make 2 more calls before the notification procedure begins. If the child presses '3', the notification procedure will begin immediately.
What will my child hear when answering the call?
After your child answers the phone and says "Hello", the following greeting will play ... "Hi! This is your daily checkup call! If everything is ok, press 1. If you need help, press 3."
This messages can be personalized to include your voice and greeting message, with special instructions for your child.
Your child will then have to press '1', and the system will tell them "Thank you, good bye." If your child presses '3', we will let them know we'll be calling you and also instruct them to dial 9-1-1 in case of a serious emergency.
How many times will the system call me?
If the system cannot reach your child after 3 calls, or the child presses '3', the notification procedure will send out emails and call the 'Primary Phone' immediately. If the 'Primary Phone' is not answered, or the person answering does not press '1' to acknowledge the call, the 'Backup Phone' will be called. The system will then alternate between calling the 'Primary Phone' and the 'Backup Phone' for up to 1 hour until the notification call is acknowledged.
What is the 'Time window'?
The 'Time window' will randomize the call time, which is useful to ensure your child comes home on time (as the call maybe on time) and must stay at home (as the call maybe delayed).
How much does this service cost?
You can choose from several different payment plans. The longer the service is requested, the lower the monthly rate. Here are our current rates:
Contact DSC to learn more about our CARE latchkey children calling services.