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My husband returned from a three night business trip this afternoon (hallelujah) and I thought it would be a great time to share my tried and true tips for staying safe as a family. Even if your spouse doesn't travel, you still most likely go out with your kids alone to the grocery store. I often ride the line between paranoid and cautious. I don't want to be overly paranoid and drive myself crazy, but I do want to be vigilant. We need to come to terms with the fact that we don't live in a safe world. It is not the same world our parents grew up in or that we grew up in, right?! Sex-trafficking, kidnapping, etc etc ETC are real things that happen every day. With that being said... here is what I do to stay safe with my kids.
Top 10 Tips For Staying Safe At Home:
*IN ANY EMERGENCY SITUATION YOU SHOULD FIRST AND FOREMOST CALL 911!*
1. Girl, keep those doors locked. I don't care if you live in the country (or a deserted island for that matter), LOCK the doors. It is better to be safe than sorry especially if you're home alone. Side note: If you have small children, you need to keep doors locked in case your child tries to open the door and go outside. Windows also stay locked tight in our house! We love our Nest Video Doorbell that monitors our front door and alerts us if anyone comes to the door.
2. Invest In A Good Security System
I know they can be pricey, but I am 110% satisfied with our investment in our SimpliSafe security system. It is a great system. A few things about it: Optional monthly monitoring (which means it immediately calls the police when either you press the panic button in a dangerous situation OR your alarm is triggered) We pay for monthly monitoring for peace of mind and it is worth it to me. The sensors are not noticeable and go on all doors and windows. When you open any door or window with a sensor, it beeps loudly from the home base. It has a TON of features. I am only scratching the surface. However, if you accidentally trigger it... it is LOUD (as it should be, right?) and will call the police so make sure you don't do that. Don't ask me how I know either....
3. Learn Self-Defense or How To Operate A Firearm or Both!
I was taught the importance of gun safety so guns are not scary to me. If you're not for guns, that is totally your choice and I respect you for it. You have to do what is best for you and your family. PLEASE don't send me hate mail about gun rights or any of that stuff. I am not saying you should make the same decision, friend. I am simply doing what I feel most comfortable with.
However, I am for safely owning a gun and safely operating it. I know how to operate a gun and could use it if I had to in the heat of the moment. There are tons of classes out there that will properly train you and allow you to receive your permit to carry a gun. If you do have small children, you need a LOCKED gun closet, cabinet, or room! All guns should be unloaded inside the gun safe place with magazines directly beside them to grab if needed. Once again, this doesn't frighten me because if some joker comes into my house and tries to harm my children, I will not think twice about grabbing it. Self-defense is also a great option if you're not comfortable with weapons. A lot of local gyms will host self-defense classes and they usually aren't expensive.
4. Lock Your Car Doors
This is a big one because I am always hearing about car break-ins. Before we moved, a neighborhood right beside our old neighborhood was ALWAYS having car theft issues. I mean all they will find in my car is old chicken nuggets and three week old moldy coffee cups but I still lock the doors.
You don't want people rummaging around in your glovebox where they can find your name, address and information all on your car registration card. Better yet, park your cars in your garage if you can!
My friend Whitney from the amazing Blog: Trains and Tantrums by Whitney Ballard wrote a post about an intruder coming to her home one night while her husband was working late. It is a real life story and she has a great conversation going on in the comment section.
5. Install Motion Sensor Lights On Your Porch
Whether it be a car, animal or person, you can rest assured that the lights will come on when triggered. These lights are waterproof and come in a pack of four so you can use one on each corner of your house. I love our motion sensor lights!
6. Smoke Detectors + Carbon Monoxide Detector
Change your smoke detector batteries frequently (ours beep when they start getting low), and make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Simplisafe has a carbon monoxide detector that goes with the security system that alerts you when it senses smoke. A carbon monoxide detector is also a must in your home!
7. Water Safety
When we purchased our SimpliSafe Security system, we also purchased their water sensor for the lower level of our house. It alerts you when there is a water leak which could save you a TON of money and time in the event of flooding. It works with the home base and will alert you if it senses water. When I am finished giving my kids a bath, I drain the water while they are inside the tub. I let them play until all the water is gone. This is a win-win because I want to make sure I don't forget to drain a full tub of water that one of my little kids could fall in. I fully intend on investing in swimming lessons this summer as well.
8. Cleaning Supplies + Medicine Cabinet
Keep all cleaning supplies in a safe place where you know your kids won't be able to reach them. Or invest in child safety locks for your cleaning cabinet door. Even natural cleaners don't need to be handled by small hands, or heaven forbid, ingested! The same goes for medicines... keep them locked up and out of reach!
9. Outlets + Blind Cords
Outlets covers are a must with small kids and are so easy to pop over your outlets to ensure no one gets electrocuted. Blind cords are also a bad idea if you have small children who could get tangled up in them. I like a cordless pull-down shade so I don't have to worry about little fingers wrapping cords around their necks. Most of the windows in my house are curtains only, but there are several windows that have required these pull-down cordless shades.
10. Heavy Furniture
Kids are really good at climbing things they shouldn't be near and furniture is no exception! Make sure your furniture is attached to the wall and especially any dressers or tables in your kids rooms. These TV and furniture anchors will do the trick!
5 Ways To Keep Your Kids Safe In Public:
1. Keep Kids Contained
If you have older kids who aren't prone to run off, you can skip down to tip #2. If you DO have small kids, let's chat about this! I always get my oldest child out of her carseat first and have her stand in the crook of the car door in front of me while I unbuckle her little brother. This ensures that I have all eyes on both children and they can't get anywhere or be snatched away. When we go inside a store I put both kids inside the buggy and no one is allowed to walk outside of the buggy. If we go to a place like the mall where they don't have buggies, I put the youngest in the stroller and the oldest gets to wear the child harness. I LOVE this child harness for my oldest. I see kids running through Target by themselves all the time and it makes me sick to my stomach.
2. Don't Let Your Phone Distract You
If you are out with your kids alone, don't browse on your phone. I have to remind myself of this tip every time I go out. When we look down at our phone we immediately don't pay attention to what is going on around us. That gives ample time for a predator to follow you around making you an easy target. I actually started writing my grocery list inside of a composition book.
3. Don't Overshare With Strangers
I am really bad to overshare because I love interacting with people. There are far too many news stories out there about seemingly harmless conversations going awry. If a person starts asking personal questions about your child (i.e. name, school, etc.) you should probably just let them know that you don't feel comfortable giving out that kind of information. This article was really helpful for me as a mom of two very talkative kiddos! I also like this article that talks about not putting your child's name on their clothing to give predators more information than necessary.
4. Avoid Crowded Places Alone
If you have multiple kiddos, you can't possibly keep your eyes glued on both kids at the same time. If I need to go to the mall or want to take a day trip to the zoo, I always plan for my husband to go with me. We call it divide and conquer! This article I found on the Today Show's website is so helpful especially if you have older kiddos.
Me when I see a crowded place.... or someone asks me to go to a crowded event with my kids... Also, I love Steve Harvey. He is hilarious!
5. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
I fully believe in the "Mom Gut" and have had to trust it a few times. If something feels off or you feel uncomfortable with a person in public, chances are that you feel that way for a reason. My aunt was walking around Walmart one day and a man followed her through the entire store. Every aisle she would walk down, he would follow her. She ended up calling her husband that day to tell him what was going on in case something bad happened to her. Thankfully, she alerted security and she went home safe. If you feel unsafe, immediately call security and walk (or run FORREST RUN if necessary) to the front of the store as fast as you can. As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry!
I hope these tips were helpful to you and although we can't prevent all bad things from happening, we can be vigilant and mindful of the world around us. More than anything, I wholeheartedly ask God to protect us from the crazy, dark and sinful world we live in. There are still GREAT people out there that FAR outweighs the crazies!