Twelve Home Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Protect yourself and your loved ones at the holidays
We had a strange event in our neighbourhood last weekend involving one of my children. A person we did not know pulled over at the side of the road where my one daughter was playing with a friend and started taking pictures of them. The girls had been out playing on their bikes, in daylight, after school. Normally I can see my child out front. That afternoon I couldn’t see her, nonetheless, I knew she was riding her bike, helmet on, safe on our street with a friend. But the safety I take for granted was taken away when the two girls came racing into my house to say a stranger was taking pictures of them – a grown man they didn’t know. Luckily a very alert neighbour spied the car as it slowed down and she saw him taking pictures. She raced out the front door and asked the girls if they knew the man who had pulled over near them. She had also seen him taking pictures. She asked if they knew the person, and she warned the girls to get inside.
Luckily, my daughter is fine, as is the other girl. The car sped off when he saw my neighbour come racing out the front door. Had she not been watching, I have no idea how the ending of that story would have turned out. I teach my kids safety habits. Or so I thought. When we moved to an entirely different neighbourhood I didn’t reteach everything in the context of the new neighbourhood. Now I am reinforcing home safety tips for the holiday season, and year round. I am still a bit creeped out by that whole episode last week. The police were called and they filed a report. They investigated what they could. But this whole experience taught me several things and it has me also thinking about safety. It’s important to be alert at all times, especially right now as we head towards the holiday season.
So when a safety expert contacted me this week about sharing her tips on how to stay safe, I absolutely wanted to share here as a public service. These are from Jarrett Arthur. Jarrett Arthur is one of the highest ranking female black belt instructors in the USA in Krav Magna. Jarrett has been featured as an expert on national television shows including Ellen, Access Hollywood and Good Day LA, as well as in numerous publications including Fitness Magazine and The New York Times.
Home Safety tips for the holiday season
Home Safety tips for the holiday season

1) Deadbolt locks for all exterior doors.

2) For sliding glass doors – insert a pole or pipe in the track.

3) Locks: Keep doors and windows locked at all times.

4) Timers – Put interior lights on timers so you never come home to a dark house.

5) Motion Detectors: Install motion detectors on outside lights.

6) Watch that garage doors and driveway gates close completely.

7) Trim or remove shrubs near entranceways: these make excellent hiding places.

8) Protect Yourself: Place an object near your front and back doors that could be used a weapon in an emergency, such as: a large vase, an umbrellas, a baseball bat, or golf club.

9) Know the drill: Have an emergency escape plan designed for every single room in the house. Make sure your entire family is familiar with it, and run a drill every 6 months.

10) Beware of Dogs: consider placing a large dog bowl and leash on your back porch, and hanging a visible “Beware of Dog” sign on your fence or near the front of your home.

11) Sleep with a phone on and within arms reach of your bed, even if you put it on silent.

12) Pay attention to your surroundings as you enter your home and immediately close then lock your door.

Number 11 is extremely important in my opinion. I remember in our old house having someone try to break in on a February night at around 3 a.m. Multiple men ran up and down my street, which was on a main bus route and they kicked several front doors. We had a phone near our bed. Also one afternoon before we had kids I was painting the nursery when a group of kids tried to break in. The house at that time looked like there was nobody home. (I learned then to yell out the window – “I called 911.”) Hopefully you never have cause to call the police like I have. Knowing these tips may help prevent incidents this holiday season.

FOR DISCUSSION: Have you ever been the victim of a crime?

This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive compensation. I published this because I thought my readers could use the safety tips this season.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Lee-Ann S

    There were a couple of break-ins when I lived with my parents. Nothing major happened as no one was home either time. Just really annoying having to replace a number of things & deal with insurance. Also had the car broken into a couple times. First time it was for the stereo system and the second one was for a small amount of change on the console.

    • Paula

      It can be really annoying to deal with but the most important thing obviously is that nobody was hurt. We were just kind of alarmed that someone was taking pix of the kids on our street. Obviously it wasn’t anyone who should have been here either.

  • Heather

    That is very scary. I would be very angry to see anyone taking pictures of my little girls without my consent. I have boys and I’d be upset. I’m glad it didn’t lead to anything, but thanks for the important reminders on being safe.

  • Terri Ramsey Beavers

    Oh my gosh that is so scary. The fact that he took off tells he was up to no good. I preach safety to the kids and I can only hope when are at school or away from me that they pay attention to what is going on around them. Thanks for the tips.

    • Paula

      I know Terri that was the scary part. Obviously he knew he was doing something wrong and the police seemed to take it seriously so that also kind of made me think wow I need my kids to really be more alert while playing.

  • Alejandra

    Thank you for this post. I remember when I was a kid I had two experiences that had such and impact, that I still remember with details. One was a man on a car and he asked me and my two friends (we were riding our bikes around the neighborhood and we didn’t want to get closer because that we knew was not something we should do, and then he opened the door and show us his junk, and that moment another car came and he ran off. The other story was similar. The awful this is that I was afraid of telling my parents as if I felt guilty for the longest time, Im not even sure I even told them. Anyways, thanks for sharing these safety tips!

  • R U S S

    We’ve had a break-in before and I’m just so glad that none of us was hurt. Investigations said that the person who broke in our house had a weapon and all. It was so scary, I took me months before I could sleep in my room again. These are all important things that every household should consider to keep a home safe.

  • Trisha

    These are all excellent tips! We typically lock up our doors and windows when leaving our home even if for a few hours. I really like the idea of having motion detectors and think they’re something I will talk to my husband about investing in.

  • Catherine S

    Glad your daughter is alright
    Thanks for all the great tips. We have extra locks on our front door and sliding glass doors.

  • jennifer Corter

    Thank you for sharing all of those great tips. I remember, when I was around 12 or 13 years old, my neighbor friend and I were playing outside, and this black car drove around our block like three or four times. We didn’t know what to make of the whole thing until the car slowed down next to us on it’s fifth trip around the block. We dived into my moms bushes at that point and hid until the car sped off, then went inside and told our parents what had happened. You really can’t be too careful these days. I really like the idea of the Beware of Dog sign.

    • Paula

      I have heard of that before and yet never ever bought a sign or put one up.I think it’s a smart idea. One more deterrent.

  • Fi Ní Neachtáin

    We keep our doors and windows locked all the time. You just can’t be too safe, especially at this time of year when it gets so dark early and people might try and break in.

  • Amanda @ Adorkablii

    It’s sad but we leave everything locked at all times. It sucks. I remember growing up and being able to keep the door open all day and not have to worry who was going to knock. Not anymore. Can’t be too safe.

  • JoAnna

    Great tips. That story about the stranger taking pictures of your daughter was very eery and uncomfortable. It’s sad that the police couldn’t do much more about it. I really hope he doesn’t ever come back to your neighborhood! I’ve never been the victim of a neighborhood crime like this before, but I’ve definitely called the police for suspicious activity at my neighbors. It’s so important to remain vigilant about your own safety!

  • Johanna

    I don’t have kids yet, but I don’t live in the best neighbourhood in my city so these tips come really handy. Although I do most of them sometimes i forget about rechecking if these work properly, so good reminder…

  • Nancy

    I said something simlar on FB the other day. I’m NOT answer the door any more in the dark. We moved from Canada to the USA, and we know no one around us – so we have no idea if we’re even living in a safe neighbourhood. Regardless of that, some kid came to the door asking for a sponsorship for his University. When I said I wasn’t interested he got snippy with me, which made me so uncomfortable, in my own home. Not nice. Thankfully my tiny dog was barking in my arms and I had an “escape”. 🙁

    • Paula

      That’s brutal Nancy! Don’t show up at my door truing to sell me something and then be snippy when I say No. People try to solicit in our neighbourhood all the time. I am so cautious now. Seriously if I haven’t heard of your charity then get the flip off my doorstep.

  • Mama to 5 BLessings

    Wow that is super scary! I would not want someone taking photo’s of my kids. When my kids go outside to play I go outside with them. Even though we live on a dead end street and a safe neighborhood there are too many crazy people out there.

  • Anna

    Living in an apartment, we follow many of those tips already. The fact we live in the basement apartment also is risky in itself :/ However (knocking on wood), we’ve been pretty darn good over here. We’ve been here for 3yrs and haven’t had an incident.

  • Sandy

    I’m so glad your daughter and her friend are okay. What a creepy stranger. Break ins can leave such bad taste and trauma for anyone involved.

  • Tiffany Hathorn

    Oh wow…that is scary! Glad they are ok. To answer your question, I have had my car stolen before. Also (I am too young to remember, but have heard the story a lot), when I was very young a man tried to kidnap me and my cousins from the bedroom we were sleeping in. We were visiting family in Chicago and he snuck up the fire escape and into the room. For some reason my grandma felt the strong urge to check on us and caught him trying to take us. Thank God for her feeling.

  • Yona Williams

    If i go out of town for the holidays, I am constantly worried about the home. My biggest fear though is fires…because I live in an apartment with five other units…so I worry that they might do something when I am gone.