We all want our kids to be safe. We teach them about Stranger Danger. We buy safety kits and make Child IDs for them. We drill them on their addresses, parents’ names and phone numbers (work and cell). We invent passwords and safety phrases and we try not to ever let them out of our sight. These are all good things. It’s good to teach your kids some “street smarts” and teach them how to be safe when they are out in the world.
It is also vitally important that you teach your kids how to be safe at home. Yes, we want our kids to think of their home as a safe sanctuary away from the scary and, often, unsafe world. But, as we all know (even though we wish we didn’t), bad things can happen at home, too. Fires get started. Carbon monoxide leaks. People break in. It is incredibly important that you teach your kids how to handle these events as well.
Have a family meeting and map out what everyone should do if a fire breaks out. Teach your kids how to stop, drop and roll. Teach them to touch doorknobs before grabbing them. Plan out a variety of escape routes from each room in the home. Run drills. This might be scary for your kids at first. Nobody likes to introduce the idea of the house burning down if it hasn’t yet ever occurred to your kids that such a thing could happen. Even so, it’s better to broach the topic yourself in a safe and controlled environment. And, if you run drills, your kids can feel like they have more control over the situation and will be less likely to panic if a fire ever does break out.
Obviously, it’s also important to keep your home as fireproof as possible. Have working fire extinguishers handy. Get your wiring inspected regularly. If you have fireplaces, keep them clean and keep your chimney clean and clear. Get into the habit of making sure that gas appliances are turned off. Know what gas leaks smell like and how to react if someone smells it.
Securitychoice.com has a great list of “20 Home Safety and Security Tips” that covers the basics of home security ADT and keeping your house safe. They’re pretty thorough, but it’s also worth mentioning that you need to get everybody into the habit of locking doors behind them whenever they enter or leave the house. If everybody is playing outside in the back yard, it’s okay to leave the back door unlocked to better facilitate kids running in and out to grab snacks or use the bathroom. Make sure the rest of the house is tightly locked down. You don’t want someone to be able to slip into the front while you’re busy out back!
Update your home security system. At the very least, you’ll want to have a system that will sound a screamingly loud alarm siren if someone enters without punching in the code. It’s better, though, to pay a little extra for some upgrades. For example, you might want to invest in a key fob that unlocks your doors. These fobs is that they can also be used to lock the doors in a second, from wherever you are in the house if you think someone might be prowling around. You might also think about installing a system that connects to your mobile device. That way, if something happens while you’re away, you can check in with your system via your phone or tablet and call the authorities if you see something suspicious.
Come Up With a Plan
You need to plan out what to do if someone breaks in. Unlike fires, where the goal is to get out of the house as quickly and safely as possible; the last thing you need if someone breaks in is your kids running around trying to escape. They could run afoul of the invader!
The best plan to have in place is one in which your kids hide somewhere safe, preferably in their rooms, until you (or someone who knows your family password) comes to get them. Teach them to be quiet and still, even if they are scared. Hiding and staying quiet increases their chances of staying safe and unharmed. It’s also important that you have the same sort of plan for yourself. Keep your phone handy and make sure you have an app installed that will allow you to call for help without making noise.
Upgrading your home’s security is as much about planning and attitude as it is about hardware, software and deadbolts. Use the tips in this article to help keep your family as safe as possible.