Babies, toddlers and young children aren’t able to do much in the way of home security, but they do pose an extra security risk for parents who may get easily distracted when getting ready to go out or while cooking. It’s very easy to be getting together the car seat, pram, nappy bag, spare clothes and your personal items and completely forget to close or lock the front door. As part of your preparation for your new arrival take some time to draw up a simple, easy home-leaving plan that will ensure you take everything you need with you, and that the house gets locked and the alarm is set.
If you’re using a papoose style baby carrier it’s easy to keep the little one with you while you get ready, and babies can be safely left in their car seat inside the house while you pack the car up. Before leaving do a quick check for keys, phone and other essentials, then mentally say to yourself “I have everything I need” before setting your alarm system and locking the house. This simple mantra serves as a reminder to take your items with you and to remind yourself that you did lock up – we’ve all left the house and then not remembered actually locking the door (even though we probably have).
When children are a little older, walking on their own and curious about everything then security becomes a bigger concern. You should ensure they can’t reach external door handles, and if they can then these should be kept locked so the child can’t accidentally wander out and into a road. Patio doors should also be kept closed if children are playing while you’re getting on with something else for the same reason. Windows are less of a concern, but if you’re blessed with an adventurous little soul you should make sure they can’t reach the window by climbing on furniture.
A baby monitor and/or CCTV in the child’s room can give parents peace of mind, as they can monitor what their little one is getting up to while they have their feet up. CCTV footage may also reveal hidden talents, like amateur mountaineering or Houdini style escapology which you need to be aware of for safety and security reasons – just because you haven’t seen your child scaling a chest of drawers it doesn’t mean they can’t!
Your intruder alarm panel should be placed somewhere out of reach of children so they can’t play around with it and accidentally turn it off or change settings – treat it as you would a plug socket or cleaning cupboard and make sure it is not accessible to little fingers. It’s also a good idea to keep kids busy with something while you’re cooking so they can’t cause any accidents or distract you and end up setting the smoke alarm off.
Other ways to keep your little ones safe at home include locking away cleaning products and medicines, storing electrical items out of reach and not leaving them plugged in, and using a stair gate to prevent falls. Once they are old enough to reach the door handles make sure they know never to open the door to anyone they don’t know, even though they’re not left alone, and as they grow up include them in your home security arrangements to form that habit early on – after all, good security and safety is important and it’s never too soon to teach your children these valuable life skills.