Before you leave for your summer vacation, you need to do what you can to make sure your home and belongings are protected while you are gone. Safeguard against crime and other issues by taking the following precautions:
- Stop your mail and newspaper delivery. If your mailbox is overflowing while you are away, criminals will be alerted that you aren't home. If you don't have a friend who will be bringing in your mail, contact the post office to temporarily suspend delivery. Do the same with your newspaper — if you are one of the few who still actually gets the paper delivered.
- Keep quiet. You don't need to broadcast to everyone (especially on sites like Facebook) that you are going to be away. You never know who is going to be reading or listening. Instead, tell a few select people in your neighborhood so that they can keep an eye on your house.
- Fake them out. Set up an electrical timer to turn lights and TVs on at various time to fool potential intruders into thinking you are at home. Set the timer to reflect your normal routine.
- Consider shutting off gas and water. If you are going to be gone an extended period of time, consider shutting off your utilities to avoid potential flooding, fire or gas leaks.
While traveling, don't make yourself a target for thieves and pickpockets. Leave your jewelry and other expensive belongings locked up at home. If you are in crowded, unfamiliar areas, keep your money in a money belt rather than in your purse. When traveling with kids, bring along an updated photo of each child — in case you become separated from them. Talk with your family about who to call and what to do in case they get lost or another emergency arises while you are on vacation.
If you are traveling by car, keep an emergency road kit in the trunk with jumper cables, flares and other necessities. Also take along a first aid kit, bottled water and nonperishable foods.
Sun and water safety
If you are headed to the beach or another sunny locale this summer, sun protection is essential. Bring plenty of sunscreen, floppy hats and UV-resistant clothing. Sunglasses are also a must. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours or whenever you get out of the water.
Water safety is also very important in the summertime. Teach your kids to swim at home before you leave on vacation. Young children should always have swim vests — not floaties. And you should always be in the water with your children, not sitting on the deck or sand. Remember to stay just an arm's length away. It takes just a few seconds for a child to begin to drown.
More about summer safety
15 Hot tips for summer safety
7 Ways to keep your kids safe this summer
Keep pets safe from the heat