When the lazy days of summer roll around, it’s time to take a step back from the hectic, day-to-day grind of the rest of the year. It’s a chance for rest, relaxation and maybe even to get away. What no one should get lazy about, however, is their home security.
For all its hot, sunny glory, summer also presents an array of potential dangers. In fact, statistics suggest that summer is often one of the most dangerous and crime-filled times of the year. To avoid such summer bummers, here are six summer safety tips to .
1. Secure windows and doors
Open windows and screen doors allow fresh air to circulate into your home, but they also present an open invitation to thieves. Take care to close and lock all windows and doors at night and when you leave your home. Summertime typically brings about a spike in burglary reports, so you want to make sure to check and double check those locks. Regularly arm your security system if you have one, too. (Check out our guide on securing sliding glass doors – these are particularly tricky.)
If you have small children in your home, open windows can also present a fall danger. Install window guards and/or sensors, and keep furniture away from windows, so kids can’t climb to them.
2. Keep shrubbery in shape
Criminals could be out in full force during the summer months, so don’t make it easy for them to hide outside your home. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed, and turn on exterior lights, so you and your neighbors have a better view of anything suspicious going on. Also, if you’re going to be traveling, arrange to have someone keep your lawn up, so it’s not obvious you’re away.
3. Scoop up your spare keys
As clever as you think your hiding place may be, leaving a spare key outside is like leaving a personal invitation for burglars who know all the tricks. If you’re heading out of town, it’s especially important that you gather up all your spare keys and leave just one with a trusted friend or relative instead. You may also want to consider investing in a keyless lock that would allow you to provide a code or virtual keys to those who you want to grant access to your home while you’re away—for example, a neighbor who’ll be watering your plants or feeding your cats.
4. Take precautions for pool safety
Each day, approximately 10 people die of unintentional drownings in the United States; more than 3,000 per year. Most of these deaths are entirely preventable with extra attention to pool safety. Pool alarms and fences are must-haves for pool owners, but they’re not 100 percent foolproof. It’s important to know where children are at all times when you’re around water and that parents don’t take their eyes off kids when they’re poolside. (We’ve also highlighted products that will help keep your pool safe.)
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following pool safety tips:
- Install a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas.
- Intentionally designate at least one adult to supervise children at all times around the water without distractions, like a book or cell phone.
- Learn how to swim, and teach your child how to swim.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
- Teach children to stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
- Ensure any pool or spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards.
Even if you don’t have a pool, pay close attention to your children. Any standing water, including water that collects in fountains or buckets, is a drowning hazard.
5. Grill with care
Grilled food is one of the most delicious parts of summer, but this cooking method can also pose fire dangers. An important yard safety guideline is the three-feet rule. Everything—walls, railings, people, pets, patio furniture—should always be at least three feet away from the grill.
Also, make sure your grill is in good working order and that you clean it regularly to avoid fires. Don’t forget food safety either, as nothing puts a damper on summer fun like food poisoning. Meat should be cooked to the safe minimum cooking temperature for that specific food (a meat thermometer is your friend).
6. Practice vacation vigilance
If you’re planning a summer vacation, put some precautions on your to-do list before you hit the road. For starters, don’t make it obvious that you’re gone. That may mean investing in light timers or smart bulbs, putting your mail and newspaper subscriptions on hold and having neighbors pick up any packages that are delivered while you’re gone. Also, think twice before you post that selfie of you on a beach chair. Anyone who can see your vacation photos will also know that your home is unoccupied. Finally, if you don’t already have a home security system, this may be a good time to consider purchasing one.
Accidents and unfortunate incidents happen, sure, but many of them can be prevented. Help make this summer one that’s filled with fun in the sun rather than with injuries or a break-in by taking just a few extra precautions.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.