We take great measures to keep our homes and families safe, but even with fancy alarm systems and high-tech locks, we still need to teach our children about home security. Kids who are prepared feel more confident and less panicky if a real-life emergency or security threat happens.
Make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your family—including these three important home security tips that every child should know.
How to Answer the Door
All children, and especially young ones, need to know that they should never open the door to anyone other than immediate family, unless otherwise instructed by Mom or Dad. When the doorbell rings or someone knocks and no parents are home, kids need to be prepared with a clear plan of action.
- Don’t say you’re alone: The first thing kids should remember is to never tell anyone that they are home alone. Instead, they should say that their parent or guardian is busy and unable to come to the door right now.
- Keep the door locked and closed: No matter what the person on the other side of the door says, unless they have been pre-approved by you, children shouldn’t open the door. If someone says they are a repairman or neighbor, your children must tell them to come back later. If a person claims to be a policeman, instruct your child to call the local police department to confirm—and they should let the person at the door know they are calling.
- Practice: Run “home alone” drills with your children before leaving them at home on their own. Practice knocking on the door and role playing different scenarios so that they feel prepared and confident.
What to Do in an Emergency
None of us want our kids to have to deal with an emergency situation, but they’ll be less frightened if they know what to do in advance. Here are the basic emergency procedures you should review with your children on a regular basis.
- How to call 911: Review when to call 911, and prepare your children for what to do if they need to call in an emergency. Be sure they memorize your address and phone number and can repeat them back to the 911 operator. Instruct them to listen carefully to what the operator tells them and to follow all instructions they are given. If you have a security system, conduct similar drills so they know how to use your security system to call for help.
- What to do if there’s a fire: Create a fire evacuation plan and run regular fire drills with the whole family. Make sure everyone understands where to go and what to do in the event of a fire. Explain things like leaving clothes, toys, and blankets behind so that your child can get out of the house as quickly as possible. Identify a meeting place and who the kids should contact if parents aren’t present or out of the house yet.
How to Lock Things Up
Nearly one third of all break-ins happen through an unlocked door or window. Whether you have an alarm system or rely on good, old fashioned door and window locks, your kids should know how to make sure everything is locked up tight.
- Show them all the locks: Take your children on a tour through your home and point out where every door and window lock is. Show them how to lock and unlock each point of entry and then have them practice doing it themselves. Remind them to check that windows and doors are locked whenever they are home alone, and after they come inside or close an open window. It may seem like overkill, but the safest way to ensure good habits is to have children lock a door or window after each time they are opened.
- Teach them about your security system: If you have a security system, make sure your children know where the access panels are and how to arm and disarm the system. Create a security code that will be easy for your children to remember, but emphasize that it’s a strict family-only secret. Have your kids practice arming and disarming the system, and make sure they know to never disarm the system without your permission.
At American Alarm Systems, we want to keep you and your children as safe as possible. Review these important home security tips with your children, and let us know in the comments about any other safety tips you’ve used with your family.