Best Security Tips for Families [How to Protect Your Home NOW]

In Home Security by Christy

Did you know that almost 50% of unintentional injuries happen in our own homes? It’s scary to think knowing that our home should be the safest place for families. Aside from accidents, burglaries and cybercrimes are the next highest threats to kids at home. 

Thankfully, there are easy ways you can keep your home a safe place for your loved ones. Just choose 1 or 2 at a time and you can increase your safety this coming weekend! .

Throughout this article, be sure to check out the links referenced in each section for great resources for how to make improvements.

Why prevention is the best way for home security

Home-security

Prevention should be your top priority if you want to protect your family from injuries, burglaries, and cybercrimes since it’s normally the easiest option. First, look around and check which areas in your home are vulnerable. 

Need to beef up your door security? Do you need to install alarm and smoke sensors? Is your internet connection secured? Do your children know what to do when there are strangers outside your door?

If you know the weakest links in your home, then you can immediately improve your home’s security and safety. 

Short on time? Try these Basic Security Precautions

precautions

The moment you move into a new home, make sure that you consider the basic security precautions. It’s simple and will benefit you in the long run. You can do these in a matter of minutes:

  • Look for areas in your home that have weak security. Think like a criminal so you can find the weak links and fix them right away.
  • If you have elderly or young children at home, make sure that areas prone to accidents are fixed or hand rails are installed (such as the bathroom and kitchen).
  • Review the background and references of your housekeepers. Hire cleaners that come from an agency with outstanding records or glowing personal recommendations.
  • Never put your complete first and last names on the mailbox. Instead, use only your initials.
  • Make sure that your wireless internet connection is secured at all times.
  • Lock your windows and doors every time you come in or leave the house. Most home burglaries happen during the day!
  • Work with neighbors to alert one another of any suspicious activity, people, or unfamiliar vehicles in the area.
  • Always trim any trees or shrubs near your doors and windows. Keep your lawn well maintained to prevent hiding spots for burglars.
  • Never let strangers come inside your home. Be cautious when service people come to your home. Ask for their identification and, when in doubt, call the company and ask about the person.

Security Tips for Families - Comprehensive Guide

If you have a little more time to really make your home a safe place or have already implemented the basics, consider making improvements in the areas below.

Home Security

Home-security2

Secure the Garage, Windows, and Doors

The garage, windows, and doors can be the weakest link in your house if these are not properly secured. Here’s what you can do to beef up your home security:

  • Fix door and window frames if you see signs of rot
  • Fortify glass doors or windows with security bars and consider security film for first floor windows
  • Change door locks when moving to a new home
  • Conceal your spare keys in unusual places if hiding them outdoors
  • Use high-quality deadbolt locks in all your entry doors (spring-latch locks can be easily opened with a credit card)
  • If you have glass sliding doors, make sure to secure it with a metal rod
  • Make sure that door hinges are placed inside, not outside, the house
  • Reinforce your windows and doors so they  won’t be easily opened, this is the number one entry point for burglars
  • Cover garage windows and make sure the door is always closed
  • Install a C-clamp on your garage door or a lock to make it difficult to open when you’re on long trips
  • Add a peephole or a camera that lets you to check on visitors without opening the door
  • Make sure that all your tools are concealed or properly hidden so they can’t be used against you
  • Consider installing an alarm system to guard your doors and windows

Know Your Neighbors

Getting to know your neighbors can help build a safer neighborhood. Friendly neighbors help in looking out for each other. Your neighbors can help you monitor the surroundings of your home for any suspicious activity. If you need to be on a long vacation, your neighbors can help you watch your home and make it look lived-in instead of being empty.

Teach Kids About Home Safety

Always teach your kids not to open the door to anyone (except parents or grandparents). If the visitor is a family friend, teach your kids to let them wait outside and call you first. 

You should also make sure that children have access to emergency telephone numbers. These include numbers to the nearest police station, fire station, and ambulance.

When teaching kids about home safety and security, it is important that you not only tell them but actually show them how to do it. Role-playing can be a great way to teach young children how to respond properly when strangers come to your home or if there are unexpected emergencies.

Plan Ahead When Taking Long Vacations

Thieves love going for an empty house. If you have plans for a long vacation, make sure that you take the necessary steps to prevent burglars from taking advantage of your empty home. You can do these:

  • Never post announcements about your long vacation on social media ahead of time.
  • Set the volume of your landline off or at a low setting. Unanswered telephone calls are an obvious indicator that no one is home.
  • Hire a house sitter to stay or ask a neighbor to visit your home daily while you’re away.
  • Use lights and timers to turn on your TV or radio randomly. This will make your home look lived-in even during the night.
  • Keep your yard clean and maintained.Trim the shrubs to avoid hiding spots for potential burglars.

Ask the post office to temporarily suspend sending you mail until you return home.

Maintain Privacy

Keep your home and its valuables away from prying eyes by covering your windows with curtains or blinds and keeping your doors closed at all times. This will make burglars wonder if breaking inside will be worth the risk since they don’t know what valuables are inside your house.

Use Deterrents Such As Security Lights and Dogs

Automatic motion lights and dogs are some of the best deterrents for your home. Burglars prefer to break inside a home without drawing much attention from you and your neighbors.

Install A Home Security System

The best way to know your home is secure is to invest in a home security system. With modern systems, you get status updates right on your phone while you’re gone so you can keep an eye on things. Install alarms, sensors, and cameras at entry areas, doors, and windows so you can always monitor the surroundings 24-7, wherever you are. You can also subscribe to additional services to automatically connect to police or firemen in case of emergencies.

Carbon Monoxide and Fire Prevention

prevention

Identify Emergency Resources and Plans

Hotlines or telephone numbers of nearby emergency centers (police, fire stations, ambulance, etc.) should be accessible right away. Teach your kids when to call and where to dial in case of emergencies. Make sure that you have a plan for exit in case of fire.

Install Smoke and CO Detectors

Smoke and CO detectors help you monitor your house and call the authorities right away in case of fire. Many of the smoke and CO detectors today can be connected to your smartphone so you can receive notifications immediately. 

Family Escape Plans

Being prepared is always better than not having anything at all. We don’t want accidents to happen but we should always have an exit plan that everyone knows about. You can do these:

  • Make sure you consider an exit plan (two ways out from each of the rooms in your house).
  • Always have a window-escape ladder for second-story windows.
  • Keep corridors and stairways free from obstructions.
  • Make sure to keep your bedroom door closed. In case of fire, this will decrease the smoke and heat inside. If the door is hot, don’t open it. Find another way to escape (such as a window).

Kitchen Safety

Cooking carelessly is one of the main causes of fire accidents at home. Make sure that you always monitor your stove and electrical appliances - turn them OFF after using them. Don’t put any items near the stove that can easily catch fire (such as a towel or apron). Place a fire extinguisher within 10 feet of your stove.

Regular Checking of Appliances and Heaters

Your electrical appliances and heaters can also be a cause of fire. Regularly monitor and service your appliances to make sure that they are in good condition. Turn them OFF when not in use. 

Invest in Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are your best bet when a fire begins. Make sure that they are mounted in the kitchen, garage, or other areas in your house that are prone to fire. We highly recommend purchasing a fire extinguisher that can stop all types of fire (the ABC type). Make sure you know how to use it before an actual fire accident happens. And remember, you should only use fire extinguishers to stop a small fire. Call the authorities right away if your house has  a large fire.

Teach Children About Fire Safety

Educate children about fire safety, and never let them play with fire. Keep all lighters and matches away from them. Keep an eye on children that are curious and play with fire repeatedly.

Cyber Security

Cybersecurity

Monitor Online Activities

As much as we can, we want to protect young children from the dark side of the online world. Even older children still need guidance as they become more and more curious online, especially now that most school work requires online research. As a parent, you can use a software or control app that will help you monitor and implement restrictions on the websites your kids are visiting. Above all, make sure you talk to them about the dangers online.

Use passwords that are hard to crack

Identity theft is common in the online world. Protect your family from identity theft and fraud by making sure that your passwords are regularly updated. Never use passwords that are obvious (such as birthdays, etc.) It’s best to use a password manager and unique passwords for every website!

Teach kids about basic internet safety

Young kids today can easily browse the internet on their own and can be exposed to cybercrimes and unsafe sites if not properly monitored. As a parent, make sure that your children are educated about internet safety. Teach them the appropriate ways to behave online. Remind them to never share their passwords or personal information to anyone, even people that seem like their friends.

Keep your software updated

Protect your devices from spyware and viruses by updating your firmware and browsers regularly. 

Use firewall and antivirus protection software

Even if your software is up to date, it is always better to beef up your security by adding another layer of protection. Installing an updated firewall and antivirus protection software if it doesn’t already have it will make sure that your computers and devices are safe from online thieves.

Beware of phishing scams

When you receive emails, make sure that you check the source first. Never click links that look suspicious. When prompted to enter sensitive information (such as a bank account), leave the site right away and check with your local bank about the email.

Secure your personal information

Your personal information can be easily stolen online if you’re not cautious enough. First, always make sure that your passwords are updated and cannot easily be hacked. Never log into sites that are not secured using https encryption. And when using public WiFi, use it with caution, especially if you are visiting sites that require you to enter sensitive information.  The best approach is to use a VPN on your phone to connect to your home network first to protect your information.

Injury Prevention

Injury-prevention

Keep cleaning products, tools, and harmful chemicals out of reach

Young children and even teenages can be curious about tools and chemicals you have at home. Make sure to never let them experiment and play with dangerous chemicals and tools. Keep them away from children and place them in a proper storage location. You can even install sensors on cabinet doors so that you can monitor if someone is trying to access your tools.

Organize your basement and garage

A messy basement or garage can cause accidents. You might step in on a tool or spill a dangerous chemical. These can all cause accidents, especially when you go into your garage at night.

Stair safety

Keep stairs clear from any obstructions, trash, and debris. If you live with elderly people, make sure that the handrails are strong and safe for them to use.

Secure rugs

Never use rugs that are slippery or not properly secured, especially in the bathroom. You can install safety grips at the back of the rug to ensure that it doesn’t move and cause a fall, especially when the floor is wet.

Install grab bars in your shower

Just like rugs, a wet floor in the shower can cause you to slip. To prevent slipping accidents in the bathroom, it is highly recommended to install grab bars and use rough surfaces in the bottom of tubs and showers. This is especially helpful if you live with your grandparents.

Don’t place appliances and other electronics near water

Electronics and appliances that are left ON can be dangerous, especially when placed near a wet area. Water can cause a short circuit on electronic devices which can damage the device and potentially cause a fire.

Be Safe!

Our home should be the place where we feel comfortable and safe. With this info, we’ve summarized everything you need to know to protect your loved ones at home. We hope that these tips will help you stay protected from accidents and crimes!