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Recently in the UK the death of a Toddler and his Father has come to light.

In this instance the father died of a heart attack and his 2 year old son died of (potentially) starvation several days later.

The specific circumstances were an adult dies and the toddler is then unable to fend for themselves has been a fear of mine since the birth of my child.

My circumstances are different in that:

  • Myself and my partner are in a commited relationship.
  • My toddler attends a nursery so would hopefully be missed.
  • Myself and my partner both work full time jobs, so would hopefully be missed.
  • We have a support network of friends and family, who would hopefully be concerned if they haven't heard from us.
  • We have no involvement with government or regulatory authorities in relation to our toddler.

But the simple matter is if either one or both of us were to die in the house and our toddler was alone, what could I put in place now to prolong my toddlers life as long as possible.

Currently my toddler is unable to reach most food stuffs as these are either kept above the reach of my toddler or are in a fridge that my toddler is unlikely to be able to open.

Tap water would also be generally unobtainable due to the height of the taps. My toddler does have a kitchen stool that allows access to worktops, but it would never be guaranteed to be in a position close to food or water. There are likely to be one or two bottles of water available at toddler height around the house, which they do drink from when they see them.

My toddler knows where to go to get food, to feed our cat (either dry food or wet food in sachets) and we have both cat food and water available at floor level. We do tell our toddler that this food is for our cat and not for them.

Me and my partner both have mobile phones and we have no landline phone in the house. (We have a landline just no phone for it). Our toddler understands that our mobile phones are communication devices but I'm unsure they would know how to use them.

What changes or additions could be made to prolong my toddlers life if the death of a parent was to happen within the home?

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Trying to setup a toddler so they can fend for themselves is unlikely to work here, other than perhaps making sure they can access water for themselves (and you are willing to deal with spill occasionally).

Your best option is setup a notification system. If you and your partner are living together than nothing special should be required: if something happens to parent #1, the toddler should be ok by the time parent #2 comes home.

If one of you is travelling, you can schedule a once or twice a day check in. Just a quick message, that the caregiver is still present and accounted for. If that message doesn't come, parent #2 can try to call. If not answered in a reasonable amount of time, they can engage friends, family, neighbors or (if needed) the authorities for a well fare check.

If you don't live with your partner, you can do the same thing on a daily basis. A quick check in from the caregiver to the other partner and/or parent with follow up from the partner/parent if the check-in doesn't happen.

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