The Fall brings changes in children’s schedules with cooler air and a new school year. Here are a few precautionary actions you can take to ensure your children remain safe.
To make it easy for you, Secur-Tek Inc. has prepared the following comprehensive checklist compiled from many sources including The Red Cross, Parent & Child Magazine, and Scholastic.com.
1) Review behavior guidelines so everyone understands what’s expected of them:
- Not to talk about being home alone in public or on social media.
- Never tell someone on the phone that their parents are not at home. Say something like “He or she is busy right now. Can I take a message?”
- Never open the door to delivery people or service representatives. Either ignore the doorbell or ask them through the door to leave the package on the porch. If you install a Skybell® with your security system, the system will alert you so you can see who is there and allow you to talk without opening the door.
- Take the same way home. Have them take the same route that you have designated to and from school every day. If your child walks, review each street that s/he uses. If they take a school bus, make sure they take it every day, even if offered a ride from a friend, unless previously agreed upon by you. Knowing the route allows you to predict how long it will take them to arrive home and to trace their steps if there is ever a problem.
- Check in. Instruct your child to call a parent (or another adult that you designate) or leave a message as soon as s/he gets home. Honeywell Total Connect can also alert you when your home security system is disarmed or armed. This can be the first step in a daily routine that includes exercise, homework, a snack, and some downtime. If your child is older, set ground rules for going places and inviting friends over.
- Review safe usage of their cell phone and/or the home’s landline. Your child shouldn’t answer the phone for just anyone, so set up guidelines. Tell them not to answer the phone if s/he doesn’t recognize the name or number. If you have a landline that doesn’t have caller ID, tell them to let all calls go to voice mail and listen to them – they can always call the person right back if it is important.
2) In addition to the above behavioral guidelines, prepare your home and family members by doing the following:
Post and review relevant phone numbers. Update your security contact list by calling the Secur-Tek office. This may include adding a new trusted neighbor or removing students going away to college or moving out of the home. Ensure this list is in your family members’ phone/emergency contacts list as well as posting a physical list in a prominent location.
Have an emergency plan. Develop and review an emergency plan so they know what to do in case of fire, injury, or other emergencies. Review the best routes to safety from each room in the house. Make it fun and hold a practice drill — sound the security alarm and practice what to do if it goes off. Your child should know how to immediately get out of the house and call 911 from the safety of a neighbor’s yard or house.
Ensure flashlights are in assessable locations around the house. Fall brings some extreme weather so make sure everyone knows where the flashlights are and that the batteries are fresh.
Test your security system. If you have a security system, test it to make sure it is working the way it should be. This is a good time to review your security system password information/contact list and consider having your security system updated or monitored. It’s a good idea to have the monitoring center phone number entered as a contact on your phone to identify the caller in case of a security call.
Keep doors locked. If the home has a monitored electronic security system like Honeywell Total Connect, ensure that children learn how to use it to enter and rearm it when home alone for extra protection.
Inspect your home thoroughly for any safety risks.
- Make sure that all the smoke detectors are functioning properly.
- Safely store all dangerous items like guns, ammunition, knives, hand tools, power tools, razor blades, and other objects that might cause injury in a securely locked safe or chest.
- Put away and secure any prescription drugs.
- Ensure potential poisons like detergents, polishes, pesticides, lighter fluid, and lamp oils are stored in locked cabinets or out of the reach of children.
3) Be ready for minor injuries. Update your first aid kit and review how to use the items in it with your child. You can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to expert advice for everyday emergencies.
Consider enrolling older children in an online Red Cross babysitting course so they can learn first aid skills and how to care for younger family members.
Fall is an exciting time of year for fresh new beginnings, beautiful weather, and meeting new people. At Secur-Tek Inc. we wish you and your children a safe and wonderful new school year!
Secur-Tek has been providing peace of mind since 1990. We proudly serve the Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.