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Abduction-Proof My Home, Please!

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"Safety Chick" Kathleen Baty gives moms pointers.

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The story of Haleigh Cummings has us feeling paranoid, especially since she was reportedly abducted from her own home. How can we make our homes safer for our own kids?

"Safety Chick" Kathleen Baty gives moms pointers for decreasing your children's odds of becoming a victim.

- Watch who you associate with. The majority of abducted children are taken by someone they know. That's why you have to be especially careful about who you surround yourself with and who you let into your home. Before you hire a carpet cleaning company, for instance, make sure they do background checks on employees before letting a worker into your house.

- Use common sense. Make sure to lock all doors and windows every night.

- Create a "perimeter of safety" around your house. Install sensor lights. Criminals don't want to be seen. If there's a spotlight that goes on when they enter your yard, that could be a deterrent.

- "Stalk yourself." Take a walk around your house and see what strangers can see. Can they see into your drapes or blinds? Make sure no one can see into your children's rooms, especially. You don't want someone to be able to see where your child sleeps from the street.

- Get an alarm system in the home. You want to know the second someone is entering ... not wait to find out until they're at the foot of your bed or in your child's room.

- Get alarmed screens. That way, you can still open windows and get fresh air in the day, but if the screen is cut or removed, the alarm will go off. These would have been especially helpful in the Elizabeth Smart abduction, because he came in through a window.

- If you want to go the extra mile, create a "safe room" in your house. I recommend a walk-in closet that doesn't have windows. Install a bolt lock high enough on the door that your kids can't reach it, and keep a baseball bat and a plugged-in cell phone in that room at all times. Program the number of your local police department into that phone. Make sure your kids know if there is a burglar in the house, everyone should meet in that room. Then, if an emergency strikes, lock yourself in and call the police.

How do you keep your kids safe at home?


next: Octuplets -- I Am Your Father!
139 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mary February 21, 2009, 11:13 AM

Get a dog! I have frequently read that the # 1 deterrent that makes criminals nervous is a dog.
I keep our dog in the back of our house whenever I answer the door. Her fierce deep bark always makes visitors question her friendliness and size.

michelle February 21, 2009, 11:16 AM

This sounds a little to alarming for children. It might make them paranoid to sleep at night. But then..whatever it takes to keep our children safe

Zsa Zsa February 21, 2009, 12:22 PM

wonderful article. Let me add one thing. One very good way to keep your children safe is to make sure that you and your spouse — or any parent figure — are sober, drug-free, crime-free, well-behaved and moral.

Most kids that are harmed or killed have this happen at the hands of their parents or family. If you or your partner needs counseling or medical care, get it. If your spouse is violent with you or the kids, get out and stay out, no matter what hardship it takes. I speak from experience on that.

Veronica February 21, 2009, 3:11 PM

Get an alarm. When windows or doors open even if the alarm isn’t set the alarm system will chime, this way you know someone opened something! A dog is good too. We have a Chihuahua and a Rottweiler. The Chihuahua barks if she hears noise and the Rotty, well he looks scary.

JJ February 21, 2009, 6:30 PM

If you have a car alarm keep the keys
near your bed at night so if you hear somthing strange push the alarm to the car

JJ February 21, 2009, 6:37 PM

Buy decrotive wind chimes hang them on
curtain rods

Rachel February 21, 2009, 10:01 PM

The Haleigh Cummings story is frightening. And of course our kids can meet all kinds of scary people on the internet. The truth is that you need reliable videomonitoring in your home in this day and age. Videocameras help to protect your kids and pets, and, if part of the right package, can also allow you to monitor your home while at work or away.


I am a full-time mom (part-time executive) that is on the road 3 nights a week. Because the kids are often alone after school (I am still at work or on the road), I chose FrontPoint Security Solutions (link attached for reference): http://www.frontpointsecurity.com/specials/slce-1125-StandOutFromCrowd.

Not only do I get basic (plus medical, fire, and environmental) monitoring, but I also get a variety of interactive services that enable me to manage my home security system remotely (SMS, email messages, online activity log) and videomonitoring services for only $39.99 per month. It has really been an affordable way to keep my home safe from burglars, while also having some peace of mind knowing that I can see if my kids are interacting with potentially unsafe strangers on my property. I even watch my dog while I am at work!

I’ve had good experiences with FrontPoint – and the good news is that every parent worried about their child being threatened by in-person encounters with predators can obtain this additional level of security at an affordable price.

kris February 22, 2009, 10:42 AM

Thanks for the article and the info from all of you. Good information. I have always watched everything that goes on around my children. I am very protective of them especially my teenage daughter- I would never hire ANY company and have her home at the same time even IF they said they did background checks. I worked in investiagtions for years for the government.

ONE Very important tip= Usually people you would never ever ever think is a sexual preditor. your neighbor, friends, co worker, church friends even- it is the most normal looking person. Keep your gaurd up for your children.

Dee February 23, 2009, 10:04 AM

Totally agree about the dog. My dog has alerted me to robberies, both in my car and my neighbors’, on several occasions through the years. There is no way anyone could come near my house without the “alarm being raised.” Plus, my dog(s) would fight to the death to protect us. Plus, all of the love they give is well worth the cost of taking care of them. Even a small dog can be a great sounder of alarm (many of them were bred to be just that).

stalker February 24, 2009, 3:30 AM

you guys are so unrealistic. If someone wants in your house, they are going to get in. If someone wants your kids, they are going to get them. Why? Because you are afraid. You rely on alarms and such nonsense rather than being there and ready to fight if need be. You need to learn to rely on yourselves. I’m saying this as a convicted criminal, it is SOOOO easy, people are so afraid. Of everything. Of the police, of the criminals, of everyone. You are raising your kids in a state of paranoia without teaching them to use common sense and to fend for themselves.

M February 24, 2009, 9:44 AM

Good tip about keeping keys for your car alarm on nightstand.

Take a self defense class - go to your local kids’ karate place or YMCA - even just one single class will benefit you and your family.

Ju February 27, 2009, 3:14 AM

My grand-aunt is constantly telling me to be careful with my daughter. I take my daughter anywhere in Korea and the comment I hear most often it “She looks like a doll!” She’s 2, has curly auburn hair, expressive eyes and a beautiful smile. She looks very different from Korean children. I’ve heard stories here where fair-haired, blue-eyed babies and toddlers are stolen and sold in Asia. But, they could be just that, stories. When we move back stateside, we’re getting a dog or two and a pair of Siamese cats (thier original function was guard cats). It may be paranoid, but she’s my baby girl, mama bears are MEAN if you mess with their cubs. I’ll take her everywhere she needs to go. And she will be learning self-defense, even if it’s as simepl as ear-shattering screaming.

The Meanest Mom April 8, 2009, 8:48 AM

spill fake blood on the floor and buy everything necessary to make your house look like a horror house at night, even men are afraid of the supernatural.

crazy mom April 8, 2009, 11:02 AM

I am the kind of parent who will fight for my kids and i teach them how do defend themselves, In the real world you have to be tough and mean i do whatever it takes to make and keep my kids safe.

Carissa August 7, 2009, 12:59 PM

Don’t keep a noticibly predictable routine when you can avoid it.

Anonymous December 3, 2009, 10:27 PM

I don’t have kids but I do care about the safety of my home.

I got “Beware of Dog” signs on my fence both on the side and at the gate. The signs plus two dogs running towards you barking with their fur raised is a good deterrent.

My dogs go ballistic if someone enters the yard anyway other than the gate and even then, no one unchains it with my families knowledge. No one but the neighborhood kids dare to put their hands over the gate to unchain it.
(The dogs know and are protective of the kids of the neighborhood.)

MckinneyLAVONNE August 7, 2010, 3:40 PM

I strictly recommend not to hold back until you earn enough money to buy goods! You should just get the mortgage loans or just consolidation loans and feel yourself free

Doofedaregolo August 22, 2010, 1:47 AM

I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it that way.

Sue September 29, 2010, 7:27 AM

This is great, thanks for sharring.
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Danielle October 12, 2010, 5:41 AM

Merci pour l’article bonne.
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