When your children are at that precious age where they are too old for daycare but too young to be trusted home alone, many worries and concerns come to mind. There's actually a term used for children in this situation: latchkey. Latchkey children let themselves into the home and are supposed to wait there until their parents return home from work.
Unfortunately, sometimes children don't always do as they are told, which could result in dangerous situations when they are unsupervised. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your children safe when they need to stay home alone while you are at work. Here are a few things you should know.
Legal age limitations for latchkey children
Before deciding to go the latchkey route, it's important to know whether doing so is legal or not in your state. The National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that children under the age of 12 should not be left home alone. However, some states have their own laws regarding age limitations of children left home alone and, surprisingly, some don't have any age limitations at all. Be sure to check the laws in your state before you decide.
Install a security system with bidirectional alarms
A bidirectional alarm is a security system that is capable of sending and receiving bidirectional signals. It can allow you or the security service to get notified when there is a breach in the security system or an entrance is opened. That way, you will be able to receive notifications of when your children arrive home from school, or when they leave to go somewhere.
This type of system can also allow you to control the security system for your home remotely via the Internet or an app. This can help you regulate who comes and goes. For example, you'll be able to remotely open the front door for a trusted neighbor if your child cannot open the door.
You will also be able to remotely change the password to the access panels at an entrance if you suspect or find out that your child has given the password out to someone without your consent.
Install a video surveillance system
Being able to watch your children from afar can help you keep tabs on what your children are doing and if they are safe. You'll be able to remotely access the videos from the cameras you install in your home. You can incorporate audio into the system and use it to video chat with your children.
You'll need to determine the best locations of the cameras. Ideally, there should be a camera at the exterior of each entrance so you can see who is at the doors when your children are home alone. It's also a good idea to install a camera in the kitchen, simply due to the fact that most home fires start in the kitchen.
Keep tabs on your home's utilities
If you expect your children will be home alone for more than a few hours each day, it may be a good idea to monitor your home's utilities through your security system. This can be done by incorporating a home automation system into your home's security system. That way, you can keep tabs on things like the thermostat settings and water usage. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms can also be included.
Most locksmith services like Top Security Locksmiths can design and install extensive home security systems for your home, including video cameras and home automation systems. With today's technology, you can monitor your children and keep them safe with an all-encompassing security system.