Home security and safety is a tricky business — there are so many random dangers in the home that children can get into.
The fact is, if we’re not actively securing our homes and making them safe for children, there are too many ways for kids to get seriously injured or sick. Even objects as seemingly innocent as a window shade cord have been known to harm children who get tangled up in them.
As parents, we need to take precautions to protect our children, both in the home and out in the world.
Promote Child Safety in the Home
A past controversial SuperBowl commercial from a major insurance company depicted a young boy who died as the result of numerous preventable household accidents such as poisoning and falls.
The commercial got a lot of traction on social media.
Although it was presented tactfully, many people didn't approve.
The truth hurts and sometimes isn't pretty.
However the message was clear: so many child deaths are preventable!
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to promote child safety in the home:
- "I'm home!" If your child is not reliable at notifying you they've arrived home from school, set up a real-time alert system. Home security/automation systems can assist with this.
- Don't answer the door: Your kids should be under strict orders never to answer the door no matter what. Role play this with them; pretend you're a stranger on the outside of the door, begging to use the phone for an emergency. Instruct your child that if someone's crying help, to NOT open the door and instead dial 9-1-1.
- Smoke detectors: Have smoke alarms in the house and educate your kids about them.
- Carbon monoxide detectors: Newer smoke detectors are 2-in-1 carbon and smoke detectors. CO gas is odorless and invisible. Ingestion is painless. That's why it kills so easily.
- Hide cords and wires: Not only are these a tripping hazard for adults, but toddlers just love to pull at these. Toddlers have been known to put these in their mouths and stick objects into electrical outlets. Put "baby proof" covers on outlets and bundle and/or hide the cords.
- Eliminate anything that can act as a noose: It's difficult to imagine how a toddler can end up hanging dead from a curtain cord, but it's happened.
- Buckets: Babies and toddlers love playing in small spaces like cardboard boxes and even buckets, but buckets can easily robs them of life under certain circumstances. Never leave a toddler unsupervised near a bucket of water (you're bathing the dog and you leave the area to answer the phone or check your cooking food). Toddlers have been known to topple head-first into buckets of water and drown because they couldn't lift their heads out. Note the proportions of a toddler's head to the rest of his body and you'll see why this kind of fatality happens.
- Baths: Never leave babies or young children unattended in bathtubs, even for "just a few seconds."
- Hide the matches: Why is it that parents can be so good at hiding the candy but not the matches? All too often we read about home fires being started because a child was "playing with matches." Disclosure: I lit an entire couch on fire in my house as a kid while playing with matches. My mother will vouch. Sorry mom!
- Hide the guns: Keep your guns available to you for protection but impossible for your kids to get to. There are numerous gun safes and locks that should be deployed.
- Poison control: Our first child was allowed to go into the bottom kitchen cabinets and pull out everything she wanted to and scatter it all over the floor. Once. Made for a fun video. Of course the cabinet containing the cleaning supplies was off limits. The second child didn't have this option due to all the cabinet locks. Don't forget the bathroom and linen closets and even the garage.
- Home security: The smartest child in the world can still be victimized by a thug who broke through a window. Windows should have shatter-proof film.
- Teach your kids about your alarm system: Your child should learn how to activate the house alarm so that it will go off if someone tries to break in.
- Home security connectivity: You can be connected to all smart home appliances and security systems with smartphone applications.
This is Best Home Security Companies, so naturally, we feel strongly about securing your home against burglars or child predators.
It is absolutely vital that you have some sort of security system installed in your home.
The best thing you can do to secure your home is hire a home security company to install a smart home security system in your home and provide monthly professional monitoring — this monitoring can cost anywhere from $20 to $50 per month, but it’s worth it.
A basic home security system package can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,500.
Promote Child Safety on the Road
Worried about your teen causing a car accident from drinking too much?
How about from being distracted too much? According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving accounted for 58 percent of medium to severe wrecks involving teenagers, based on analysis of about 1,700 videos.
The study involved collaboration with the University of Iowa and Lytx™, Inc., maker of the Lytx DriveCam, which recorded all of the data using state-of-the-art technology.
The analysis looked at the six seconds preceding the crashes and uncovered the following distractors, in order of prevalence.
- Passenger interaction
- Cell phone use (includes texting)
- Eyeing something inside the vehicle
- Eyeing something outside
- Singing or moving to music
- Reaching for something
Are teens learning from their parents that cell phone use while driving is crucial? (Many adults drive while talking or texting.)
The analysis revealed that when cell phone use led to an accident, the teens' eyes were off the road for 4.1 seconds on average-out of that six seconds.
Funny, these same teens, if athletes, would never take their eyes off the ball during a game to text.
AAA wants new laws that ban cellphone use by driving teens and having more than one passenger-for the first half year of driving.
Will a law be effective?
How about making new teen drivers watch videos of the gruesome aftermath of fatal car accidents?
AAA recommends that parents teach safe driving practices. But HOW is open to interpretation.
Dinnertime lectures aren't enough. How about making kids view those grisly aftermath scenes?
AAA suggests a parent-teen driving agreement. This will make a teen feel more accountable. Another effective strategy is for the parents to practice what they preach.
If you're a parent, ask yourself how often you take your eyes off the road to look at your kids while conversing.
Practice "bi-tasking" (doing two things at once: keeping your eyes on the road while conversing), and your teens will less likely smash up the car as a result of passenger interaction.
In 2013 alone, says an article at newsroom.aaa.com, around 963,000 drivers 16 to 19 were in vehicular accidents.
Fatalities totaled 2,865, and there were 383,000 injuries.
Is It OK To Leave My Child Alone?
Do you feel comfortable letting a young child walk alone locally? I walked to school at 7.
In South Carolina, a woman was charged with felony child neglect because she allowed her 9-year-old to play with other unsupervised kids in a park.
I played outside unsupervised at 9.
Seems to me that, from a statistical perspective, it's far more dangerous to drive your children somewhere, even if they're wearing their seat-belts, than to let them stroll to the neighborhood park.
That being said, I won't let my kids out of my sight for 2 seconds.
Every day, nearly 300 kids are injured in car crashes, and on average, two die. Many parents drive their kids to destinations only several blocks from home.
Genuine protection for your kids would mean never driving them anywhere or letting anyone else drive them (do you really know their friends' parents' driving habits? How do you know these other parents don't drive drunk or text while driving?).
What about leaving an unattended child alone in a parked car on a cool day?
Statistically speaking, that child would have to be sitting in that immobile car for many years before a pedophile abducted him.
Still I won't be doing that either.
Sure, there's a risk, but it's meaningless.
Your kid can also walk past a huge heavy display inside the store with you, right as the display falls over and crushes him.
But it happens: Young children, with their parents, have walked by something heavy and mounted, right as the object topples over and kills the child.
Every choice a parent makes carries risk.
Why is one choice legal and one gets you arrested? Maybe it's because some choices make parenting a little easier.
There's too much "what if" parenting and arresting out there.
Just because an abduction could have happened is no reason to have arrested the Florida or South Carolina mothers.
Men climb through windows and snatch children.
We've heard about that plenty of times.
So why aren't the parents getting arrested for not securing their windows? Should everyone have a home security system by law?
But that's going way too far.
Well, so is putting those mothers mentioned previously in this article in handcuffs and hauling them to the police station.
Just because every single abduction attempt or success is reported on the Internet in every nook and cranny of the U.S. doesn't mean that kids are in more danger today than two generations ago.
Or does it?
I'm still not taking any chances.
But when parents do, it takes conscious and thoughtful officials to determine if the child was in imminent danger before a parent is taken away in cuffs.
About the Author:
Robert Siciliano is a personal and home security specialist for BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com.