As a woman who considers herself to be a fairly seasoned mom, I have learned many things over the years from experience, as well as just paying attention to the lives of others. Mothers tend to spend their every waking moment worrying about their children’s safety, health, happiness, etc. It’s just engrained into our DNA it seems.
I have learned that no matter how much we all seem to have this carved into our bones upon creation, there are still things that we do not always consider and unfortunately the same mistakes are often repeated – even when we see the consequences of those actions from others.
That being said, there are some safety measures I have made into a subconcious habit over the course of my 19 years of motherhood which are important to share. Even things that seem like common sense can often be overlooked in our daily actions, so a reminder definitely can’t hurt.
Parking (for gas, shopping, etc.)
There are a few important steps you should always take whenever you park your vehicle (especially in public places).
Cut off the vehicle and take out your keys – always. It’s much harder for your vehicle to be stolen if you aren’t handing the thief the keys.
Unless your child is much older (teenage years), don’t leave your child in the car. Even if you are just running into the gas station to get the receipt for the gas you just pumped. Don’t do it.
Don’t open yourself up to the possibility of forgetting your child is in the car. I am not one of these people who believe it’s impossible to forget you have a sleeping infant in a rear facing car seat. To ensure you don’t make this horrible mistake, consider these options:
- You can purchase one of the newer carseats with an alarm that goes off if your child is in the seat when the vehicle cuts off. Or you can place a much needed item in the backseat with your child that you cannot function without. I suggest one of your shoes.
- I know many people believe this could never happen to them; however, we also get to a point where we believe our child would never run out in front of a car. The seemingly impossible is always possible to an extent. It’s not worth the risk.
Never leave anything of value sitting out in a visible place in your car. Your phone, your pocket book, your wallet, your iPad, your guns, etc. Do not leave anything of value anywhere in your vehicle that can be seen through the windows. In addition, don’t leave anything like this in your vehicle overnight, anywhere.
- Car break-ins happen at night just as much, if not more, than during the day. At night, thieves are less likely to be concerned about breaking a window to go through your vehicle as they are less likely to be seen. Your important items can easily be found and taken while you sleep.
Protecting Your Home From Burglary
It is estimated that out of every 1000 people in the US, 119 experience property crime every year, per the Bureau of Justice. If you search the internet, you’ll find a million suggestions for protecting your home from break-ins.
Tips such as, get a home security system, don’t hide spare keys, search around the outside of your home for potential weaknesses, keep shrubbery trimmed, ensure you house is locked at all times, don’t leave expensive items outside in an easily seen and accessible place, and don’t post on social media that you will be away from home.
It is true that most homes are broken into during the day when the perpetrator knows you are less likely to be home. However, they also break in at night whether you are home or not (this includes your home and your vehicles). As a mom who is surrounded by police officer family members, whom I have learned a lot from, the one thing I don’t see listed as a tip often enough is how important it is to have a well lit yard.
In fact, when I drive around my neighborhood at night, I am always shocked at how many homes have absolutely no lighting on outside. Burglars tend to target the darkest of homes at night. The fewer the street lights, the better for them. A house with no lights on outside at all, perfect for them. They typically do not want to be seen or caught on cameras. If your home and neighborhood is well lit it is more likely to deter a burglar than one that isn’t.
Since the holidays are right around the corner, I also want to add that you definitely should not leave any boxes outside your home that indicate large purchases – like TVs, guns, computers, etc. Potential burglars do not need to know what you have inside your home without even having to step foot in it first.
Social Media Safety for Your Children
There are many ways this can be managed such as not allowing your child access to a cell phone or computer, putting apps on your kids’ phones to monitor their activity, logging into your child’s phone or computer to see what activity they may have been participating in, etc.
I am not going to say that any of these methods are not feasible; however, depending on how old your child is, it is likely they will find a way around these measures. If they are determined to use social media, there is always a way to do so.
My approach is a little different and it may not be for all; however, it has worked for me. In my full-time career I am an IT Security Risk Analyst so I have, for the most part, been able to stay one step ahead of my teens. My preferred method to ensuring they are staying safe on social media, and not step over that line in which they begin to feel that I do not trust them so they become secretive and deliberately hide things from me, is to follow them on social media.
Our kids, especially our teens, are usually much smarter than we give them credit. They know how to make sure certain people only see certain things on their social media accounts. They know how to locate and remove tracking apps from their cell phones. They also know where they can use other devices to access social media if we attempt to remove theirs. However, they are typically very inclined to want a lot of followers on their social media accounts; even those in which they do not know personally.
My suggestion here is to create fake accounts on each of the social media platforms that you know your child is using and follow/friend request them. This is important for two reasons; one, you will find out whether your child is accepting friend requests from people he/she doesn’t know and two, you will be able to monitor their activity without them even knowing you are which means they won’t be able to hide or delete anything before you can see it by using one of the other methods mentioned.
I hope that this small compilation of safety measures helps you along your journey of motherhood. Let me know your thoughts or if you have anything to add to the list!