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Staying Home Alone: Locksmiths’ Advice For Parents

There comes a time in every child’s life when he or she starts staying home alone. It’s a big step, and it comes with risks. After all, the afternoon hours when most kids are home alone after school are peak times for crimes like burglary.

With nearly 12,000 burglaries committed in Dallas last year, how can you be sure your child isn’t home alone during one of them?

Fortunately, there are ways to ease the transition. You can protect your child while teaching them confidence and responsibility. Locksmiths and security professionals agree on these security steps and

Guidelines for home security with children.

How to know if your child is ready to stay home alone It’s important to make sure your child feels comfortable and is mature enough to handle staying home alone. Generally, it’s recommended to wait until they’re at least 11 or 12 years old. However, every child is different. If your kid is very responsible with his or her school work and household chores, they’re probably ready to take care of the house for a few hours.

In addition, they should know how to perform some basic tasks related to home safety. Your child should know who to call in case of emergency – depending on the situation, that could be you, a neighbor or the police. Instruct them that if someone calls the house, they should not disclose that they’re home without an adult. If you have a security system, teach them how to turn it on and off.

Home security for family

Home security measures for children

There are several steps you can take with the security of your house that will make it easier for your kids to be safe alone. These days, many people have home automation systems that allow them to monitor their house remotely. You can program these systems to inform you via text message when your child gets home, if the security system has been set, and if internal sensors (like around the alcohol cabinet) have been breached. Of course, if your child will be home alone, these systems are no substitutes for making sure they’re prepared for everything!

With your young children in the house, it’s more important than ever to have effective, high security locks, deadbolts and window latches. If you have several different locks and deadbolts and you don’t want your child to get confused with a handful of keys, ask a professional locksmith to re-key them so Even if your child carries the key with them, it’s best to leave a spare set with the neighbors or somewhere safe outside the house. However, under the doormat or a potted plant is not a safe hiding spot! These are the first places a burglar will look. Instead, store your spare in a key holder with a combination lock.

Lead by example with good security habits

Words speak louder than actions, especially in relationships between parents and children. Demonstrate safe, careful and consistent security habits, and your kids will naturally follow your example. First of all, always lock your door, even if you’re just stepping out for a few minutes to walk the dog. Nearly one third of burglaries take place through unlocked doors! Not only can these incidents happen very quickly, if you’re not in the habit of locking on the way out, you might forget some time when it really matters. Stress to your child to keep up this practice and always check that the door is fully locked Passcodes to combination locks and security systems are sensitive information. Never leave them written down, and teach your children never to share them, even with friends.

Show the same discretion with strangers that you want your children to practice. Don’t let a stranger into your home for any reason, even if they say they just want to use the phone. However, tell your kids that if they see a suspicious person around, they should call the police rather than confront them. Bringing your children into the loop with home security keeps them safe, teaches them responsibility and prepares them for living on their own. Letting them stay home alone has its challenges, but when done with care, in the long run it will only help them grow.

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