“It’s better to be safe than sorry”, goes the saying! It holds so true when it comes to keeping your home safe; from intruders, fire, when you are travelling or when kids are at home.
We can teach our kids, skills for keeping themselves safe and also make sure that our home is as safe as it can possibly be; not just from bumps but from break-ins too. Follow these simple tips to make your home safe, from all kinds of unexpected hazards.
Creating a safe home
- Put safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs if you have toddlers at home.
- Be sure to be around young children when they are in and around water.
- When a baby is in a crib, make sure that it is clear of small objects and toys and be sure that babies sleep on their backs.
- Create a fire escape plan, include young and old of the house; and practice it sometimes, so that children are aware of what to do in case of a fire. Plan two ways out, if possible. Remember to tell your children to not take the elevator in case of a fire.
- Install a smoke alarm in your home if necessary and test the batteries every six months.
- Store all medicines away and out of reach of young children, especially the medicines that you need to take every day. Do not leave any pills in purses, vitamin tablets on counters or medicines on bedside nightstands.
- Make sure that all household cleaners and toxic products are completely out of kids’ reach.
- Be sure that the television is either mounted on a wall or put on a low and stable piece of furniture. Same goes for small book shelves or clothes cabinets, so that they don’t topple over.
- Mount window guards and balcony guards to keep children from climbing onto them.
- Put safety covers over electrical plug points to prevent children from inserting their little fingers in them.
How to be safe at home
While the above tips help you create a safe environment at home, it is also important to teach our children a few practical things from a young age about being safe at home. There is no harm in practicing these safety tips over and over again until the child can do it alone.
- Not to open the front door: It is a good habit to teach your children to not open the front door, maybe with an exception for Or if anybody else, then please specify clearly to your child. Anyone visiting will not mind waiting.
- Important details: Remember to teach your child the home address, telephone numbers, your (parents’) full names from a young age.
- Emergency help: Tell your child what to do in an emergency, how to dial and request help. Talk about different scenarios where you should (and shouldn’t) call for help.
- Make a Fav List: Create a favourite list, in your mobile phone and teach your your children how to find and call them. Make them do so frequently, so that they know who to reach out to, in case of any unforeseen emergency. It could be your spouse, two immediate family members, close friends or trusted neighbours.
- Your secret code: Come up with a simple text or phrase code, that older children can remember and use to contact you, if they are scared or in danger either when at home or outside.
- A secret family code: Similarly create an unforgettable family code that only family members or trusted friends can use in your absence, either to pick up your children from the school or elsewhere. Make sure to teach your children to NOT leave with anyone who cannot say the secret code. The code should be a secret and changed immediately if others learn of it.
- Follow instincts: If your child is unsure of something or somebody and does not want to go along, then respect that and let your child follow their instinct. Let them know that if some adults make them feel uncomfortable, then it is okay for them to move away, leave immediately and tell a trusted adult about what happened. It is very important that the child knows that you will always be there, help and support; and that you will never be upset if they are trying to protect themselves.
- Don’t force physical contact: Do not force your child to hug someone or even kiss someone on the cheek, if they are uncomfortable. Children are still learning and trying to figure out things for themselves and understanding themselves. By forcing them, they might think it is a norm to be followed. There might be people (usually known people) who might take undue advantage of such situations; which in most cases lead to physical abuse.
Keeping your home safe from intruders
- Let your home look occupied always: It is best to leave the lights on in one balcony or one room when you go out or even leave a pair of shoes or flip-flops by the front door.
- Get a pet dog: Having a dog, no matter what the breed, is a prime deterrent for intruders, so it is advisable to get a pet dog if possible.
- Bushes trimmed: Be sure to keep plants and bushes outside your home trimmed, so that they do not provide lurking spaces for intruders.
- Know your neighbours: Get to know your neighbours and lend a helping hand when they need, so that they too will do the same and keep your newspapers and mail with them, when you are away.
- All locked in: Make it a point always, before you go outside or go to bed, to check if all doors and windows are locked properly. In fact, even when you are home, keep all the doors locked, especially when you are alone.
- Don’t leave spare keys outside: Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor instead of keeping them in obvious hiding places outside your home, like under the plant or behind a shoe shelf.
- Enough lights: Be sure that there is ample light in your pathway and entry to your home. Install motion sensor lights outside, if necessary. Or you could use lights with timers, inside the house, and set it in such a way that your home looks genuinely occupied; not just when you’re travelling but also when you are out late.
- Alarm system: Install an alarm system, if needed along with a motion-sensor video camera security system, which can email footage instead of recording onto a hard drive.
Keeping your home safe when you are travelling
- Put your paper and milk delivery on hold or even better ask a neighbor to pick it up for you.
- Ask a friend to collect your mail, so that it is not lying around.
- If you are taking your car, ask a neighbour to park in your slot.
- Do not make your travel plans public on social media.
- It is best to turn off location services on your mobile, so that when you post messages on social media, they do not identify your location.
- Keep copies of important proofs along with you for identification and other official purposes.
- Keep all your valuables in unpredictable and secure places, so that they are safe.
These are a few tips that will go a long way in keeping you, your family and your home safe, and happy!