After several e-mails from concerned parents, I have created what I feel are the 10 most important home security tips to teach your children. Please review this list with your youngsters and make sure they understand each and every safety tip.
1) Do not open the door to strangers. The same rule applies to strangers at home as it does on the street, "Do not talk to strangers"! Take the time to explain to your children that although home is a safe place, the reason it is safe is because your family takes precautions by not opening doors to strangers.
2) Explain to your children that there are bad people who pose as tradesmen, delivery people, or even people in distress. It's alright not to open the door. Explain these people can always get help next door or come back later to do a delivery or service work.
3) Install door viewers at your children's eye level. Quite often door viewers are installed too high without any thought given to children,rendering them useless. Don't worry about the look of a door viewer installed at a lower level, replacing the door down the road is a small price to pay for your children's safety.
4) Make sure your children don't brag about your families purchases: Whether it is a new television, CD or DVD player a burglar might have overheard the conversation. The last thing your children need is an unexpected visitor at the door.
5) Teach your children how to secure all locks and alarms when they are in the home alone. Have them show you how to arm and disarm the alarm system and secure all door locks and window locks. Making sure they understand the importance of getting into this habit is crucial for their safety. Note: Make sure your alarm has a cellular back-up in the event of a phone line cut.
6) Create a secure room: Install extra deadbolts and door reinforcing on a room as an escape route in the event of a forced entry. Rehearse with your children how they would find their way to safety once locked inside a secured room.
7) Make sure your children have a cellular phone to use in case of emergency. If your phone lines are cut or tampered with, your children can still call for help.
8) If you live in a large city, have your children call the fire department first and police second. Because the fire department is usually first response, they will respond much quicker than police in most cases. Your children don't need a confusing list of emergency professionals, 911 will do!
9) Have a list of family contacts: Your children should have a list of family contacts should they experience a problem they don't know how to handle, like a malfunctioning lock or alarm system.
10) If they answer the phone to a stranger wanting to know if their parents are home. Have them tell the party that their parents are busy right now and they will have to call back later. Frightening calls should be reported to a family contact immediately.