Keeping your home secure is a priority, but to have the best chance of being successful it needs everyone in the household to be aware of it. So what are the best ways to teach children about home security?
Home burglaries or thefts from properties may thankfully be a relatively rare event, but if you do suffer one and have children then it can be a traumatic experience for them that can leave mental scars that take time to heal.
Therefore, it is a good idea to teach your children about the importance of home security from a young age, to help try and avoid being a victim of being burgled.
Obviously this needs to be done in an age-appropriate way – you don’t want to scare younger children that the threat of a burglary is more than it actually is.
Also, consider that there may be occasions where older children may be left home alone for short periods and they will need to know what to do if something happens.
In terms of leaving children home alone, The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children says that children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time and children aged under 16 should not be left alone overnight. Babies, toddlers and young children should never be left alone in a house.
Key to the door
While it used to be tradition to give a child the key to the front door on their 18th birthday, modern living dictates that children usually get their own key at a much younger age. So it follows that they need to be taught about the importance of home security.
It needs to be impressed on them the importance of locking the door when they leave the house and keeping it locked if, for example, they are going to be playing in the back garden when there is no adult in the house. That way, there is no potential for anybody to sneak in unheard. Likewise, if you have a security chain for the door, get them in the habit of putting it on when they come into the house.
In addition, it should also be impressed on children that they shouldn’t leave garages or sheds unlocked if they have been using them to get equipment or toys in or out. Again, opportunist thieves only require seconds to nip in and steal something.
Keeping keys safe
If you have given your child a key to the front or back door, they also need to be taught about the importance of keeping their key(s) safe when they are out and about. For instance, consider putting the key on a cord that can be fixed to the loop on the waistband of their trousers, or fixed to the handle of a bag. Pockets and bags with zips can also be useful.
Also, you should educate your children to keep their keys somewhere safe when they are in the house. For instance, don’t leave them near to the front door where they could be seen or a burglar, or taken in a ‘fishing’ theft – where a long stick with a hook on the end is pushed through a letterbox and used to grab the keys, which can then be used to open the door.
Tidy things away
Getting children to tidy their bedroom can be a difficult task, but it is more important that they lean to tidy their possessions away if they have been playing outside. For instance, bikes, scooters and the like should never be left unattended on driveways or in gardens or porches. It can take seconds to put them somewhere safe, such as in a garage, but it can also take seconds for an opportunist thief to take a bike or scooter and the heartache resulting from it will last an awful lot longer.
What to do in an emergency
An emergency can happen at any time, so it is important to let children know what to do to keep themselves if a situation arises. For example, keep a list of important numbers – such as for the emergency services, your details and those of other trusted adults such as grandparents or family friends – and ensure everyone knows where it is.
When there is a caller to the door
One of the most important aspects of security to teach children is what to do when there is a stranger at the door.
If your child is home alone and a stranger comes to the door, it is important to remind them not to open the door to anyone they don’t know or trust – and to contact you about it.
Having things like a secret password that only trusted adults know can also be useful. If they know the password, then the child can have confidence to open the door.
Those who have video doorbells linked to an app on their mobile phone can help here – they can see who is at the door and advise their child if it is safe to open the door.
Older children can be given the code to arm/disarm the burglar alarm, and there are models on the market that have child-friendly settings to make it easier to switch it off and on.
Again, if they are leaving the house unattended, they need to understand the importance of setting the alarm as they leave to maximise security.
If you live in Peterborough or surrounding area and are concerned about the security of your home, or want extra keys cutting for your children, then give Inta-lock Locksmiths a call. All of our team have been DBS (formerly CRB) checked and can provide a thorough review of the security of your home and make recommendations for any upgrades that may be needed. For more information and for a quote that is competitive with any other locksmith in Peterborough, give one of the friendly Inta-lock Locksmiths team a call