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Summer Vacation Security Survival Guide for Parents

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With summer vacation right around the corner, security needs often change for parents of school-aged children. During most of the year, homeowners wish to secure an empty house during most of the day. Now homeowners, and parents in particular, must often prepare for a full house during their absence. Some homes will have babysitters in charge while parents work during the day. Parents with teenagers will want to track their unattended children and ensure they stay safe. In this post, we look to share some of our most important tips for summer vacation security. We’ll share ideas for keeping kids safe. We’ll also share ideas for keeping the house and your belongs safe from your kids and their guests. Let’s start by looking at some tips to keep your family safe and secure over the summer.

Summer Vacation Safety Tips

Safety and security should always be first and foremost in your mind when planning for the summer. Regardless of the age of your children, your absence raises the probability of an accident. Without being able to prevent or alleviate an accident firsthand, you will want to anticipate potential dangers and find ways to lessen the danger proactively, rather than reactively. The following steps should help you both identify and help thwart these potential dangers.

A pool behind a gate in a backyard.

While your pool should be a popular summer vacation spot, you should also make sure your children can only access it when you want them to.

Pay Attention to Any New Hazards this Summer

As kids grow, the list of potential dangers seem to grow with them. Take the time to identify any new potential threat as a good first step to helping keep your kids safe. Perhaps you have a child who could not reach your medicine cabinet last year, but this year just might be able to do so. Maybe you have children who just learned how to open doors, which also opens a whole new world of dangers. Even the presence of a babysitter or older sibling will not compensate for your absence. Pools also deserve special attention.

You can address some of these concerns with locks. Consider a padlock for pool doors, for example. You can also move certain cleaners or medicines to a safe or other secure location. Touring your home before summer break and mapping out these dangers makes for a great first step in creating additional summer vacation security.

Test and Update Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detection in Your Home

As you are likely aware, many large organizations, such as the Red Cross, make a big deal about testing your smoke detectors as you turn your clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time. Summer vacation, however, also serves as a great time to perform these checks. Unattended children of any age in the home make taking this step even more important.

In addition to testing your equipment, we also recommend potentially adding detectors in vulnerable areas. As we mentioned in our post on Improving Fire Safety for Your Family, children often sleep through the sound of smoke detectors. Adding detectors in bedrooms that don’t have them, or additional equipment such as vibrating smoke detectors that shake your children’s pillows, can help fight this phenomenon. Adding carbon monoxide detection inside and outside sleeping areas also adds tremendous life safety. As a final step, installing monitored smoke detection will ensure a fire station response to an emergency situation. We always recommend taking this step, especially over the summer if you have children at home while you are away.

Use Smart Home Features to Monitor Your Home’s Environment

An Alarm.com temperature sensor.

The Alarm.com temperature sensor can be installed in any room of the home to help you avoid the “hot room” phenomenon during summer vacation.

We’ve previously written about Smart Home Features as a way to add security and convenience to your home. Environmental sensors, in particular, can help keep your home comfortable and safe in your absence. Adding an interactive cellular dialer, such as ours powered by Alarm.com, allows you to anticipate and prepare for potential emergency situations. An Alarm.com dialer, for example, will alert you if a CO detector activates. In addition to that, your Smart Thermostat will shut down your HVAC system at this time. This helps reduce the spread of carbon monoxide throughout the house.

You can use this same smart thermostat to control the temperature of your home. Use this thermostat with room-by-room temperature sensors (pictured) to control the temperature in every room, and not just near your thermostat. Now you can set the temperature in a room other than the room with the thermostat, which is often a hallway. If you have bedrooms or other rooms that tend to stay hot or cold longer than the rest of the house, installing these devices creates an immediate fix.

Additionally, consider adding specific environmental sensors to stay on top of potential emergency situations. Freeze and flood sensors, for example, can help save you money and trouble by catching these common basement and pipe conditions before you return home from work (and before your children call you in a panic). Smart home security is both more powerful and easier to add to your alarm system than ever. Taking advantage of these features to add summer vacation security while your kids are home without you is a no-brainer.

Keeping Your House and Belongings Safe and Secure

Of course, summer vacation security doesn’t just involve keeping your loved ones safe. In some instances, you need to guard your home from your loved ones and their friends. Parents of children who no longer require sitters can especially relate to this concept. Maybe you wish to guard your valuables against your children or neighbors snooping into the wrong place. Perhaps your wish to help secure your entire home against unapproved parties and visitors. Read on for some ideas for watching over your home and belongings throughout the summer.

A child with yellow paint on her hands and yellow handprints on the wall behind her.

Adding an interactive cell dialer allows you to receive alerts when your children access certain areas of your home. In this example from Alarm.com, your alert could prepare you to see some unwanted artwork upon your arrival.

Install Contact Sensors to Add Security to Important Areas of Your Home

In our post on Unconventional Uses for Contact Sensors, we discussed installing these devices as a way to track your children’s movement throughout the home. If your children will regularly be at home without you, consider what they may wish to get into that you would like to receive a notification about. Earlier we discussed securing certain areas of the home with locks or other hardware. However, you may want to monitor specific areas of your home without completely shutting off access to them. Contact sensors work great in these areas.

Closets, jewelry drawers, and art and music spaces may all fit this description. First aid closets are also a popular area for a contact sensor. Perhaps a couple trips to get bandages or first aid supplies warrants a call home to see what happened. Or perhaps you want to make sure that your paints end up on canvas and not on the walls, as our pictured example demonstrates. Contact sensors add a tremendous amount of summer vacation security and convenience by allowing you to track access to sensitive areas of your home.

Take Steps to Track Who Enters Your Home, and When

We offer a few options to help you ensure that only the proper people enter your home, and at the proper times. Perhaps you want to make sure your kids arrive home when they should. Or maybe you want to make sure that your children don’t have company while you’re gone. We have solutions that let you keep an eye on your home and ease these concerns. If you do have an interactive cellular dialer, you can set up an alert that lets you know if the system remains armed past a certain time. For example, your children may have a 10am swimming lesson that you expect them to return home from by noon. If nobody disarms the system by that time, you will know. This level of control helps you make sure that children get home when you expect them to.

If you do find yourself worried about unwanted house guests, consider adding some cameras to watch your home. Adding cameras to a home security system is easier than ever, and allows you to look inside your home at all times. You can even set up alert schedules for your cameras. Let’s take the swimming lesson scenario one step further. Imagine that you receive an alert that your children have disarmed the security system, as expected. However, now your camera sends you a video clip of several friends following them inside. Having eyes inside the house at all times makes your home a much less popular summer party destination.

Putting it All Together

We hope that this post has given you some ideas to improve summer vacation security at your own home. If you have a security system in place, we can help you incorporate many of these ideas immediately. Whether or not you own an alarm system, however, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about any of these tips. We will be happy to look at your home and help you identify areas that could use improved safety over the summer. Together we will create a summer vacation security plan to keep your loved ones, your most prized possessions, and your home safe and sound.