Home Safety

What an Expert Learned About Home Safety from Her Kids

Sadly, summer is almost over. Now that I’m in a back-to-school mindset—and sending my firstborn off to college—I’m also reflecting on how much my kids have grown and how much they’ve taught me through the years.

Thanks to my job, I know a lot about home safety. Even so, my kids teach me important lessons about safety all the time. Here are three I’d like to share with you:

Fire drills aren’t just for schools

Our kids practice fire drills at school all the time, but we tend to overlook them in our own homes. When the smoke alarm sounds, we all know to get out of the house—but finding the fastest and easiest way to escape in a stressful situation requires a plan.

And just because you have a fire escape plan in place doesn’t mean the family remembers it. In fact, a recent survey from First Alert found that while 79 percent of Americans have a fire evacuation plan, more than half have never practiced it.

Practicing the plan is the best way to ensure everyone will make it out safely in the event of a fire. I recommend running a fire drill at least twice a year.

Voices work best

My kids sleep through their alarms almost every morning, but when I yell to get up, they wake. Studies show that children ages 6 to 10 are awakened more readily by the sound of a voice.

If you have children in this age range, you may want to consider installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms with voice features in your home for increased home safety.

Regardless of whether it’s beeping or voice-powered, the sound of an alarm can be a scary thing for a child to hear in the middle of the night.

To help them work through that fear, I recommend testing your evacuation plan in the middle of the night so that all family members recognize the sound of the alarm (or voice) and know just how to react.

Technology can help

I consider myself a pretty tech-savvy mom, but my boys are always teaching me about the latest updates in social media and what’s new on the web.

What I’ve learned recently is that social media sites and texting aren’t just for keeping in touch with friends. They also can be used to alert you to potentially dangerous weather or update you during natural disasters.

Consider following a local news station or your local fire department on Facebook or Twitter to stay up-to-date when severe weather strikes. Or sign up for weather alerts or emergency alerts that are sent out by text.

What safety lessons have your kids taught you? Share them below.

Guest blogger Debbie Hanson is director of external affairs for First Alert, a trusted brand in home safety products.