“What excites children, however, often causes angst for parents,” says Angela White, president of the Electronic Security Association. “Recognizing this dilemma, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and Alarm.Org are providing best practice safety tips for parents whose children will be ‘home alone’ this summer.”
- Post all emergency numbers in a prominent place, such as on the refrigerator. This includes your cell and work number, 9-1-1 and the number of a trusted neighbor or family member. If you have a security system, include the number for your monitoring company.
- Teach your children to keep doors and windows locked while they are at home and away. Also, if you have a security system, stress the importance of keeping the security system armed when home and away.
- NEVER leave a key outdoors. Establish a safe place for your child to go if they lose or forget their key. Electronic locks with remote access can enable you to let your child in if they lose their key.
- Consider advanced video surveillance with remote access. If you have a security system or are considering installing one, include video surveillance with remote access so you can log in and check on your children from your computer, smartphone, or other mobile device.
- If you have a security system, teach your children how to use it. Make sure they know what to do when an alarm is triggered. Your children should memorize their individual passcode and password for your security system.
- Make sure your child knows that they should never open the door to strangers. If you have a video doorbell or other video surveillance, your child can alert you, a neighbor or law enforcement if a suspicious person is at the door.
- Consider installing door and window sensors. No less than 30 percent of burglars gain access to a home through an unlocked window or door, according to a report featured in Consumer Reports and published by the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
- Prominently display your home security sign. More than 60 percent of convicted burglars said they would avoid a potential target home if they see an alarm system is present, according to a University of North Carolina at Charlotte survey.
- Teach your children what they should do in case of a severe weather emergency. You can download the Red Cross Emergency App on smart phones or tablets. This app gives real-time weather alerts and safety information, including steps on what to do if the alert goes off. The “Family Safe” feature allows you to check in with your children via text message to see if they are safe or need help.
- Don’t allow your child to post that they are “home alone” on social media. Stress to your child that they should never post the fact that they are home alone on social media sites. This can prevent potential criminal surveillance of your child, as well as impromptu teenage house parties.
“Advances in home security technology provide the ability for parents to better manage the security of their children,” White says. “An ESA member can help parents sort out the best technology to meet their specific needs.”
For more home security tips and to find an ESA member in your community, visit Alarm.Org.