Safety in the dorm room may not be the first thought on a new college student’s mind, but as a parent it should be your main concern. While dormitories are a great place to meet new friends and socialize, they can also be dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken. With a solid security plan and some safeguards in place, you can prepare your child to stay safe in their home away from home.
Every college has campus security and you should make sure your child knows exactly how to get in touch with them. Most schools offer orientation and guided tours of the campus. With a personal security plan in mind, make this a perfect opportunity to discover the fastest routes to the security office and to make sure you get the correct emergency numbers to dial.
Once your child knows their schedule, it’s very important that they share that information with you and someone they really trust as part of the security plan. Planning different walking routes between classes and their dorm is a great way to protect your child from being followed.
Security awareness is crucial. Dorm rooms have a lot of visitor traffic. Explain to your child that if they feel unsafe or see anything suspicious happening, it is better for them to contact campus security immediately rather than let the issue go on.
Freshmen don’t always have the luxury of knowing who they will be rooming with. In order to protect against this uncertainty you may need some dorm room security products such as room safes, insurance, and laptop locks to keep your things safe. Room safes can be as inconspicuous as a book or can blend in to a drawer without notice. Locking up jewelry, checkbooks, and other valuables when not around can deter would-be snatch and grab thieves.
If your student is a musician or has expensive jewelry or sporting equipment, insurance can help recover the value of stolen or destroyed items and costs much less than replacing them yourself.
Valuables that don’t fit in a safe or are uninsurable could benefit from something as simple as labeling. Labeled items help solve ownership disputes and act as a simple but effective theft deterrent.
Accidents in crowded dorms can often lead to fire mishaps. Smoke alarms should be working and checked regularly. Hairdryers, curling irons and straighteners should be unplugged when not in use and should never be left unattended. In some older buildings, replacing high wattage light bulbs with energy efficient or lower wattage light bulbs can prevent overheating and fire. Candles can be the most dangerous item in a dorm room. A lot of colleges do not allow the use of candles in dorm rooms but for those that do, watch and wait for an extra second or two to ensure that the blown out candle doesn’t reignite. Extinguish all flames when not in the room or before going to bed. Some simple, common-sense fire safety precautions can keep everyone safe from common accidents.
We can never be 100 percent certain that our kids will be safe in the dorm room, but with proper planning and the right conversations, we can ensure they will have the tools for basic safety when away at school.
Frank Rivera is the director of digital marketing for ADT Security Systems.Photo courtesy of collegelifestyles.org