Security mistakes of young families

WORSE than having your home burgled, or being robbed, is kicking yourself for making security mistakes that cost you expensive items, or worse. Here are some of the common security mistakes young families make.

• Nanny no-no

It’s a chore, but a necessary one. Make sure your nanny or au pair has all the necessary emergency numbers. Give them a quick panic button lesson too. If you have an alarm system that links to the security company, fire service and police, show them that too. Make sure they know.

• Relax, Fido’s on guard

Often families rely too much on a dog’s protective abilities. There are many stories about guard dogs that let intruders wander around a home. You need other security measures too.

• It’s okay, it’s the second floor

Leaving a second-floor window without burglar bars open is like leaving an invitation to opportunistic burglars. If you can see an entry point, they can.

• The alarm is on

Most alarms sound after an intruder is inside the house. Burglars can still grab your best-loved possessions in a few minutes and get away ahead of the security staff’s arrival. Reinforce doors and windows and keep them closed. Install motion sensors outside.

• Delivery dilemma

Unwanted post is a drag, and who uses snail mail these days? Don’t ignore the post piling up in that all-but-forgotten postbox. It will be taken as a sign you are away. The same goes for newspaper and magazine deliveries — have them stopped if you are away.

• Homecoming hell

Let’s face it, arriving home at the end of the day with tired kids, the groceries and school bags to carry, and the blow-out with that pesky colleague on your mind, tests the best of us. Don’t let your guard down. Look out for loiterers and remember to close the garage door; it’s another, often weak, access point.

• Children and keys ...

Make sure the children know where the keys are. Yes, it’s a security risk, so explain that, but everyone needs to get out quickly in an emergency, such as a fire. This is especially important in a country where most people have bars on the windows.

• … and children and doors

Children are notorious for leaving doors and gates open. Fit automatic door hinge pin closers on exterior gates so that the gate locks behind them as they walk inside. This is also a good idea in areas with high winds or heavy doors as it means a slower close so toddlers won’t get caught by fast-closing doors.

• I’ll do it next year

With all the calls on our time, that first-aid course often gets put on a back-burner. It really is a good thing to do, now, and your nanny or au pair should do it, too. So should older kids.

• Who needs insurance?

Times are tough and there are many drags on our pockets, but don’t skimp on household insurance.

If expensive items do get stolen, having a good insurance will lessen the blow.

— www.nhsm.co.za

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