With Labor Day now behind us, schools in the Richmond area are back in session, which means many families are once again adjusting to new schedules and routines. Some young children are going to school for the first time, and others are starting at a new school. Regardless, the changes in your family’s routine also mean new security challenges. Here’s a few back to school security tips you might want to review with your kids to make sure that they stay safe during the school year.
Make sure your kids know how to use your home alarm system.
If your children will be arriving home to an empty house after school, it’s important that they understand how to disarm and arm your home security system. Of course, teach them that if they arrive home and find signs of a potential break-in, under no circumstances should they go into the house.
It’s also important that they understand what to do if the alarm starts going off while they are at home alone. If your system has different alarms for burglary, smoke, and carbon monoxide, teach your kids what each alarm sounds like so they know the difference and can respond appropriately.
Use your alarm system to protect kids from themselves
Let’s face it—while you want to trust your kids to always make good decisions and do the right thing, we know that doesn’t always happen. Luckily, some feature of your alarm system can help you protect your kids from their own carelessness (or help keep them honest).
For example, wireless alarm systems can send you a notification when a child comes home from school and punches in their alarm code. You can even set up a different code for each child if you want. This way you’ll know that they arrived home from school safely. Some systems with keyless door locks can automatically lock the doors after a child arrives home just in case they forget to do so.
A home security system can also help you keep kids safe while they are at home. Security cameras can help you monitor who is coming and going, and extra security in sensitive areas of the home (like gun safes or liquor cabinets) can help remove temptations.
Know your child’s routine
Of course, having a security system that notifies you when your child arrives home won’t help much if you don’t know what time they’re supposed to arrive home. Between after school activities and last-minute changes of plans, sometimes this is easier said than done. Make sure that you know your child’s schedule and that they understand the need to clearly communicate any changes to their schedule ahead of time.
Review safety plan for traveling to and from school
If your child walks or rides a bicycle to school, make sure that the route they take is safe. Pedestrian injury is a leading cause of accidental death among children ages 5-14, so be sure they understand the importance of paying attention to traffic, avoiding the use of handheld devices or earbuds while walking on busy streets, and wearing proper safety gear while riding a bicycle. Also make sure that they know never to accept rides from anyone that you haven’t specifically approved, even if they know the person.
Discuss social media and online security
While home security systems can help keep your kids safe, locked doors can’t protect them from online predators who might attempt to lure them out of the house. Have a discussion with your kids about the dangers of the internet for children, risks associated with accepting friend requests on social media from people they don’t know, and the tactics used by online predators.
Of course, the underlying theme with all of these back to school security tips is to maintain good communication about security with your family. A good start would be to have a family security briefing at the start of every school year so that everyone is on the same page and understands their responsibilities. This will help get the school year off to a good start as far as home security is concerned. Now, if you could just get your kids to do their homework…