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What makes us feel safe differs as we age. Babies and toddlers may derive safety from a familiar blanket or a pacifier; preschoolers from a loved one welcoming them home with a warm hug. Yet as the real world filters in, children learn that the world is not quite so safe.
As parents, while there is not a place in the world that is 100 percent safe, you can do everything within your ability to help your home feel safe. Below are some cost-effective ways you can feel safer in your home.
Establish Safety Rules
Emphasize the need for keeping exterior doors locked and not admitting anyone into the home. Even if children are 99.9 percent sure they know who is on the other side, make it a rule that they either need permission or the presence of a parent to unlock and open the door. Peepholes are an excellent idea, and model their use each time you let anyone in, even the children themselves.
As for those locks, every exterior door needs a dead bolt. Prices vary to suit budgets, but if you can afford it, look for one with a grade 2 security rating or better yet, a grade 1 or commercial duty lock, and a heavy-duty strike plate. Explain these components and how they work in order to dispel any fears children may have accrued from movies depicting the bad guy “busting down” the door.
Minimize the Dark
We can’t banish nights, but we can minimize darkness. Keep all blinds and curtains drawn after nightfall and all exterior lights on. Keep a light on in every room, even if it is only a night-light. Also, if you hear anyone outdoors, do not investigate. That’s what security cameras are for, and there are some very affordable models on the market. Show children how they work and emphasize that day or night, the police are but a 911 call away.
Although your children may not give much thought to a safe, it can give you peace of mind. Most safety experts agree that there are certain documents you should keep close at hand. Consumer Reports suggests purchasing a safe for documents such as birth certificates, passports, insurance documents, wills, tax records and family photographs. Most safes are designed to be both fire and theft resistant, and some are waterproof, something you should consider if you’ll be keeping your safe in the basement. (Which by the way is a better place than your bedroom, since studies have shown that the master bedroom is the first place burglars ransack.)
Chances are your neighbors are just as anxious as you are to foster a safe feeling for their families. If there is not a neighborhood watch program in your neighborhood, why not start one? Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs — launched in 1972 as a way to bring communities and police departments together to address what was an alarming rise on burglaries all over the country. By holding regular meetings and going door to door, you will also have a chance to meet your neighbors. Even those who are confined to their homes or perhaps prefer a behind-the-scenes role can opt to be “window watchers,” keeping an eye on the children of the neighborhood and reporting any suspicious activity they may see.
About the Author: Wes Wernette oversees marketing at FireKing Security Group in New Albany, Indiana. Since 1951, the company has focused on security for homes and businesses. FireKing has evolved from a product manufacturer to a broad-based security company offering products and services, such as safes, video security and cash management options.