(571) 888-3230

PAL Safety: Locking Your Child in a Car

PAL Safety: Locking Your Child in a Car

Accidentally locking your child in a vehicle can be one of the most traumatic and guilt-inducing experiences for a parent — but it happens more than you would think. Between work, errands, and tending for their kid’s needs, adults have a whirlwind of obligations to keep track of. So much so, it’s easy to lose track of the child themselves. 

That said, being trapped in a car poses serious risks to young children, especially during hot summer months. Read on to mitigate the risk of locking your child in a car, and the immediate steps you should take if this unfortunate event happens to you.

Risks of Locking Children in Cars

You’re rushing to the grocery store — the eggs went bad again. Of course, there’s not much time. Allison has her dance recital at 7, after all, and the cupcakes for the should have been in the oven 30 minutes ago. Yes! A parking spot near the entrance opened up. Grabbing your purse and keys, you leap out of the car and rush into the store. It’s only when you’re on the dairy aisle that you stop dead in your tracks. Where’s Allison

The vast majority of car-related deaths for children aren’t due to malicious intent or neglect: they happen when parents become absentminded due to adult demands, like in the hypothetical presented above. According to KidsandCars.org, an organization that tracks car-related child deaths, more than 900 children have died in hot cars since 1990. On average, 38 kids perish in cars yearly — that’s one every ninety days.

Though no parent desires to leave their child in a car unsupervised, leaving a young child in a car for 5 minutes or so seems like an innocent mistake, when it could in fact be a fatal one. The average ages of children who die from vehicular heatstroke range from 5 days — 14 years old, with more than half the deaths occurring in children under 2 years of age; a child’s body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s. This means that when a kid is left in a hot car their temperature could shoot up rapidly, and they could die within minutes. Being in Texas, where summer temperatures can rise to the triple digits, it’s also important to note that heatstroke begins when the body’s core temperature reaches 104 degrees, while a core temp of 107 is lethal. 

Avoiding a Crisis

Of course, the best way to handle a car lockout situation is to avoid it entirely. KidsandCars.org recommends taking the following precautions: 

  • Make a habit of opening the back door when parked (this can be aided by placing a valuable like a phone or purse in the backseat) 
  • Keep your car doors locked at all times so kids can’t enter on their own
  • Never leave keys within a child’s reach
  • Teach your kids to honk the car horn if they happen to be locked in

Your kid is stuck in your car. Here’s what to do.

If — heaven forbid — your child ever becomes stuck in a locked car due to a door jamb or another malfunction, or if you happen to notice a child trapped in a car push aside feelings of panic and follow these steps:

Call 911

Before anything else, get a 911 operator on the phone. Once you detail the situation, police and fire personnel will be immediately dispatched to your location. If your phone is missing, find someone nearby or run into a nearby store to get help.

Call a 24/7 Emergency Locksmith

While you wait for emergency personnel to arrive, call the nearest or the first emergency locksmith service you can think of. Often, emergency locksmiths will arrive before police or firemen, but even if they don’t, it never hurts to have a backup plan in a crisis.

Block Direct Sunlight

Using any resources at your disposal, such as blankets, towels, or tarps, try to cover the windows of the car in order to block out as much direct sunlight as you can. This will help prevent the car’s internal temperature from rising any further.

Keep Track of the Time

The locksmith or emergency personnel may want to know this information. Additionally, time can be a good indicator of your child’s internal temperature. If you think too much time is passing, it might be time to break in a window.

Remain Calm

Though this might seem impossible given the circumstances, it’s important that you extend yourself some grace: you’re only human after all, and none of this was intentional. Additionally, remaining calm will help you keep a clearer head, allowing you to make quick, rational decisions in this emergency situation.

Everything You Need to Know About Child Safety Locks

Keep Your Child Safe at Home and on the Go

Child-proofing a space typically involves putting away breakable objects, covering sharp corners, and generally making any dangerous products out of sight and out of reach. When trying to make sure your kiddo doesn’t get into cleaning agents and chemicals or experiment with gravity by dropping your nice dishware, adding child safety locks to the cabinets seems like a promising solution. Much like how the rear doors on a car can be locked so a curious child doesn’t try to open the door of the vehicle, child safety locks prevent children from being able to open certain doors, cabinets, or drawers so they cannot access potentially dangerous or harmful items. 

There are a couple of key differences between child locks in a car and child locks used within a home, though. In a car, the driver seat typically has a button that will turn the child/rear door locks on, and, when enacted, permits anyone from opening the rear car doors from the inside. Even though they are most commonly used to deter children from opening the door when they’re not supposed to, the function paints with a broad brush and simply makes it so everyone is unable to open the door. 

Child locks for drawers and cabinets, however, still allow access to the inside, but only if the person knows how to get around the mechanism. These types of locks rely on the age and dexterity of a child to be relatively low, so they do not understand nor can they perform the required functions to open the drawer or cabinet. For adults, opening the doors should be relatively easy.

When to Use Child Safety Locks

Deciding when to implement child safety locks typically depends on when your child develops the motor skills that would allow them to open doors, pull-on handles, etc combined with when the child is able to move around independently (even for short periods of time!) But, frankly, there isn’t a time that is too early to install them. 

The more challenging decision is figuring out when to stop using child safety locks. There is no hard and fast rule about when to turn off the rear door locks in the car or when to uninstall the locks on the cabinets, but the best indication is going to be based on the individual child. 

A great starting point would be to identify your child’s overall level of responsibility, trustworthiness, and maturity. With a little focus and time looking at it, would the child be able to figure out how to bypass the lock? Has the child reached a level of maturity and understanding that they explicitly know not to play with cleaning chemicals? If you can answer yes to one or both of these questions, you can probably start taking the locks off. 

For things that would still be restricted, like alcohol in a liquor cabinet, consider getting a new lock with a key or code that only you have access to, so your child can’t simply figure out the system and open the door

Where to Install Locks

Now that we’re on the same page about what child safety locks are,  why they’re a great option, and when you should start and stop using them, let’s talk about where to place these locks. We’ve mentioned the kitchen a fair bit, so c on cabinet doors and drawers is a must, but barring the refrigerator and dishwasher are smart moves too. If locking everything that opens in your kitchen seems like too much, the places you should definitely lock are where chemicals are stored (think cleaning agents under the sink), objects are breakable (like a dishware cabinet),  and where sharp or other dangerous objects are stored (like a drawer with knives or other silverware). Another option is to rearrange your kitchen so these items are stored higher up, so they are out of reach for your children but still easily accessible to you. 

Other places to install child safety locks would be doors that lead to rooms you don’t want them entering, medicine cabinets or other places where pills are stored, and perhaps a drawer or part of a desk where sensitive documents and information are stored.

Types of Lock Options


Once installed onto the drawers and cabinets, the doors will remain closed unless you use the magnet “key” to open them. These locks come with an external magnet “key” that is easy to store above a child’s reach on the fridge door or somewhere similar. Simply hover the magnet over the door or drawer you want to open, and the magnet will release the lock inside allowing you to open it.


A little pricier than simple magnetic locks, electromagnetic locks can be controlled from your phone, so you don’t need to keep track of the extra magnet “key,” and you don’t need to be physically in the room to unlock them. Electromagnetic locks are also convenient because you can easily turn all the locks on or off with one simple click, so for example, a housesitter could easily access the contents of cabinets without having to bypass the child safety locks each time. 


This type of lock attaches to the inside of the door or drawer and allows you to open it about an inch before stopping. The abrupt stopping will deter the child from being able to access what is inside. In order for an adult to open the drawer or door fully, they simply need to press down on the spring-loaded latch to release its hold on the door. These locks are quite common and super easy to install. 


External cabinet locks are by far the cheapest option with the easiest installation process — no tools or screws needed. Simply slip the locks over the handles/ knobs on the exterior of the doors and it prevents them from being opened. In order to unlock these, a parent just needs to squeeze particular parts of the lock, and it will release. 

Window Safety: Things Burglars Know, And You Should Too

Window Safety: Things Burglars Know, And You Should Too

Burglary Enter

Evaluating Your Home

Even if you have a security system, chances are, you’re very prudent about making sure your front door is locked at night and when you leave your home because an unlocked door is just asking for burglars, right? But are you as diligent about locking and securing your windows?  Statistics show that a surprising 30% of burglars enter homes through an unlocked window or door, and 23% of burglars enter a property through first-floor windows. 

If knowing these statistics is enough to make you question the safety and security of your windows, keep reading for some expert advice for how to better protect yourself and your home from intruders and burglaries.

window lock safety

Install Window Locks

The first and easiest option for deterring intruders and securing entries to your home is by installing locks on your windows. There are a few different types of window locks with their own locking mechanisms and cater to different styles of windows. Some types include:

  • Pin locks
      • When engaged, pin locks prevent your windows from being lifted from the outside or inside. This type of lock is particularly useful for ground floor windows.
  • Sash locks
      • Typically used for double-hung windows (ones that open from the top and bottom), sash locks allow you to open the window and lock it in place. These are a great option for people who like to keep their windows cracked open while they sleep, but don’t want to risk a potential intruder being able to easily enter. 
  • Hinged wedge locks
      • This type of lock is used specifically for double-hung windows and makes it so that the window cannot be opened. If you want to be able to open the window partially, you can install the lock higher up on the window frame and decide the amount you want to be able to open the window.
Burglary Leaving

Upgrade Your Security System

Even if you already have an alarm system for your home, you should consider investing in an outdoor security system or install equipment that will deter intruders.

  •  Motion-sensing lights 
      • These illuminate when they sense motion within a predetermined range. Installing lights like these immediately deter burglars because they essentially shine a spotlight onto any nefarious character lurking around your home, thus exposing them and compromising their cover of darkness. 
  • Security cameras
      • Security cameras are a great option if you’ve been having suspicions about potential burglary threats or have heard disconcerting noises outside your home. Because you can personally decide where you want to place them, security cameras allow you to keep an eye on the parts outside your home that see less foot traffic or could be prime break-in targets.
Window safety

Reinforce the Glass

If the thought of a potential intruder smashing your windows and leaving dangerous shards of broken glass everywhere causes you great anxiety, you might want to consider replacing your window’s glass. Typical window glass is annealed glass, which only cooled once after it has been shaped.

  • Tempered glass
      • Tempered glass is 4 times stronger than annealed glass and, if broken, crumbles rather than shattering. 
  • Plexiglass
      • While glass is in its name, plexiglass is actually made of acrylic, but looks remarkably similar to regular glass. Plexiglass is about 10 times stronger than annealed glass and is impact resistant, making it a great option for discouraging burglars. 
  • Polycarbonate windows
      • Polycarbonate is even stronger than plexiglass and would be a great, strategic choice for windows that seem particularly vulnerable to break-ins. Because of their high price point, it isn’t the most cost-effective solution for all windows, but using it for one or two specific windows could be well worth the money if it means thwarting burglars.

If you’re interested to learn more about how to secure your home, contact your local Pop-A-Lock! You can even perform a Home Security Audit by filling out the checklist and answering questions. Once you have a better understanding of the safety and security of your home, call PAL to install, repair, or replace any locks and make sure you keep burglars out!

Which Doors in My Home Should Have a Lock?

Which Doors in My Home Should Have a Lock?

doors with locks

Though door locks seem like a given in most households, many inside doors come without locks, and the level of lock security required varies depending on the location of the door. Read on to learn about what doors require locks in your household!

Doors that Require Locks

Front and Back Doors

How are thieves entering your home? The answer may surprise you. They aren’t sneaking down the chimney or creeping in through your basement window; most of them simply walk right up to your door and smash their way through it.

It may be hard to believe, but the stats back it up:

  • 34% of burglars break in through the front door
  • 22% gain entry using the back door
  • 9% get in via the garage

In short: 65% of burglaries involve a criminal being able to defeat your front door security. As such, it’s crucial to have a high-security lock on your front and back doors. 

Bedroom Doors

Many new parents wonder if their children need locks on their bedroom doors. Once your kids are older, they will want privacy, but a locked door could be a safety issue when they’re younger. For this reason, consider installing a handle with no lock until your child expresses they want a locking door.

When installing a lock on your child’s door, ensure it is a “privacy lock.” These locks do not require a key to open and generally allow a way for them to be opened from the outside with minimal effort. This will afford minor privacy desired but also make access possible in case of an emergency.

Important Cabinets and Drawers 

Every household is also home to myriad commonplace hazards: the cleaning chemicals we keep under the sink, the nail polish remover in your bathroom cabinet, that drawer filled with small knick-knacks. From the perspective of a toddler or dog, these holding spots seem mysterious and fun — but their contents can be lethal. If you live with small children or pets, it’s important to think of their safety first and secure every door, cabinet, and drawer that contains items that can be dangerous. As a general rule, this includes cleaning supplies, hygiene products, alcohol, batteries, coins, knives, and other sharp objects. Really anything that would be hazardous if swallowed.  To secure these spaces, consider adding a simple baby-proof lock or a deadbolt lock that requires a key to those doors leading outside that toddlers or pets can easily open. 

Pet Doors

Unfortunately for pet owners, your pet door is convenient access to the home for more than just your cat or dog. To potential burglars, this door is also an opportunity to access the home. They might not fit through the door itself, of course, but they can stick their heads through to get a better understanding of the space, fit tools through the gap, or even widen the door without too much trouble. As such, it’s important to purchase a pet door with a built-in electronic lock, or one with its own security monitoring system. 

Ask a Locksmith

If you’re still unsure if certain doors within your home require locks, that’s perfectly fine! Just call up one of the expert locksmiths at Pop-A-Lock. We’ll answer all of your security questions and work with your family to solve any gaps in safety. 

5 Signs Your Lock Might Need to be Replaced

5 Signs Your Lock Might Need to be Replaced

We depend on our locks daily. The motions of turning our keys or flipping the deadbolt switch behind us are so  route, we probably don’t think about it at all.  We simply expect our doors to lock securely. But like any other piece of hardware, locks are susceptible to damage and erode over time. To not risk compromising your home’s security, check up on your locks every now and then — they may need a little care, especially if they display any of the following warning signs.

5 Signs That Lock Needs To Go

1. Damaged or malfunctioning

This is perhaps the most obvious — and urgent — sign your lock needs to be replaced. If your lock is damaged in any way, you may experience issues turning the key or, in the worst case, the door may fail to lock or open entirely. If this happens with your door even once, it’s best to be proactive and look into replacement options before you risk a complete lock-out.

2. Wear and tear

Despite what our kitchen appliances may think, locks are probably the pieces of household hardware that see the most daily use. But because we’re constantly locking and unlocking our doors, the locks themselves are subjected to more wear, making them more likely to break down over time. This is especially true if your locks came with your home or apartment, since it’s difficult to tell how old they are, or if previous owners used excessive force on the lock. Exterior locks can also deteriorate as a result of being subjected to the natural elements. When locks begin to rust, they weaken from the inside, making for a difficult lock-up but an easy break-in.

3. New home or apartment

Whenever you’re moving  into a  home or apartment, replacing the old, pre-existing locks is the first step to shoring up your security. In most cases, property managers and landlords will not change out locks that are still in working condition, regardless of whether these locks have served multiple homeowners or renters.  This poses a potential security risk since previous  owners or renters may still have keys in their possession, in addition to any friends or family members they made key copies for. It’s unlikely that any of these people are ill-intentioned, but prevent any chance of a seamless break-in, it’s best to replace these old locks with new ones.

4. Recent break-in

 If you or someone in your neighborhood or apartment complex has been the victim of a recent break-in, it’s almost imperative that you get your locks replaced. If the burglar entered using brute force, it’s likely that the door or  locking mechanism is now damaged, making it all the more likely that it won’t shut or lock properly. However, if the burglar entered by picking the lock or using a poorly-hidden spare key, two things are almost certain: your locks are not secure enough, and criminals are likely to target you again. Replacing the lock is the remedy for both issues. 

5. Security changes

Often, you need to turn outward to properly assess whether or not you need a new lock. A single-cylinder lock may have served you well in the past, but if you notice a decline in the security of your neighborhood, it’s time to consider ditching your old locks for something more secure. Strings of break-ins, increased reports of violence, and vandalism are all common signs that your neighborhood is becoming less safe. When crime moves into your area, homes with weak defenses and mass-produced locks are often targeted first.

We’ll handle those locks

At Pop-A-Lock, our team of locksmiths are experts on lock replacement, ready to tackle your security needs. Just give us a call to chat about safety concerns, or to get a quote on replacing your lock. Whatever your needs, if there’s a lock involved, we’re the ones for the job.

High Theft Seasons You Need to Watch Out For

High Theft Seasons You Need to Watch Out For

As summer rapidly approaches, most of us are too busy making plans and packing to think of the home we’re leaving behind as sitting targets.  Burglary, like any other crime, follows patterns and fluctuates depending on seasonal trends. If you’re aware of these facts, you’ll be able to secure your home well in advance and truly kick-back during your hard-earned summer getaway.

Facts on Burglary

According to the FBI, a burglary takes place every 26 seconds in America, adding up to over 3,300 burglaries per day. This statistic may be small in comparison to the number of households in America, but it’s significant, and the financial costs of a break-in can be staggering. On average, households experience a $2,799 loss from burglaries according to a survey from Safewise. 

 On top of recovering from financial setbacks, burglary victims experience a deep emotional toll as well, mourning both the loss of treasured valuables and the security they had before the home invasion. 63% of respondents said they had trouble sleeping after the burglary.

 These facts are hardly surprising, but one statistic defies common logic. When we picture a burglary, we imagine a pair of thieves sneaking in under the cover of darkness. However, this isn’t the case: a 2018 FBI burglary report showed that 51% of burglaries occur during daytime hours, compared to only 32% at night.

Seasonal Changes

Now that you know the basic stats on burglary, let’s talk seasonality:

  • A report from the U.S. Department of Justice showed that from 1993 to 2010, on average, burglary rates were highest in the summer, with about 9% lower rates in spring, 6% lower in fall, and 11% lower in winter.
  • This difference is so staggering, a Safewise survey found that more people are burglarized in June than any other month, regardless of year.

 This isn’t by chance: burglars know most families take vacations during the summer. If your home displays signs of extended absence — unkempt lawns, overstuffed mailboxes, dark windows — it’s likely to catch a thief’s eye. And, since you’re away, they’ll also have more time to scope out your property unnoticed and plot their break-in.

 Although summer is the prime break-in season, law enforcement officials nationwide also report burglary upticks during winter months. In some states, December is even the peak month for burglaries overall.

 Once again, criminals know most families take off for Christmas vacation during this time — leaving behind a treasure trove of presents. Similar to the overgrown summer lawns, winter storms can leave behind snowdrifts. If the snow sits untouched for several days, it’ll be pretty obvious you aren’t home. What’s more, if you leave behind a trash bin stuffed with wrapping paper and boxes, burglars can pursue your new Christmas gifts and decide what to steal before even breaking a window. 

How to protect your home

Though criminals are almost certainly passing through neighborhoods more during vacation months than any other season, there’s no need to fret. Follow these tips to shore up your defenses and keep burglars at bay.

  • Home care: Like we said above, burglars target homes that look uncared for. Whether you’re going on vacation or not, it’s important that you keep your home looking tidy and lived-in, especially during peak break-in periods. This means regularly mowing your lawn, pruning hedges, and keeping a light or two on at all times. You can do this last bit no matter how far away you are from home: just plug your lamps into a simple timer and set it to random. The lights will turn off and on at different intervals, giving the appearance of someone always being home. 
  • Help from neighbors: If you have a trusted neighbor or friend who lives nearby, you can ask them to monitor and tend to your home while you’re away. Depending on your closeness, you can have them care for your lawn, collect mail, and do regular check-ins to make sure everything is ok on the inside of your home.
  • Security system: In general, burglars steer clear of homes with security systems in search of easier targets. If you’re looking for a way to really beef up your home’s defense, this is the move. Most alarm systems with 24/7 professional monitoring for far less than the average break-in cost (some even go as low as $200), and can be installed by the homeowner. If you want to go the extra mile, install a security camera in a highly visible location like beside your front door. Security cameras are fantastic at stopping thieves in their tracks, and allow you to monitor your home from anywhere.
  • High-security locks: No matter how well-guarded and cared for your house is, nothing beats the protection of a good lock. Though the locks that come standard with a home or apartment usually aren’t the most secure, they’re easy to fix. A locksmith can swap out your old, single-cylinder lock for one with pick-proof protection, or install a deadbolt for good measure.
  • Think before you post: Burglars look for patterns of behavior, sometimes stalking the homeowners of their target house for weeks in advance. Don’t help them out by posting your whereabouts online. If a burglar knows your name, they can easily find your social media, and search for signs that you’re away from home. Posting vacation plans, location-tagged photos, or the scenic view from your getaway spot serve as dead-giveaways. Posting about your life is fine, just leave out the specifics.

Pop-A-Lock can keep you safe

At Pop-A-Lock, we’re in the business of keeping things safe. If you’re unsure of your home’s security, or looking for ways to patch up any weak spots, Pop-A-Lock’s expert technicians are here to help. Call or visit our website to learn more about our residential security audits.

5 Reasons Why People Lock Themselves Out of Their Car and How to Prevent It

5 Reasons Why People Lock Themselves Out of Their Car and How to Prevent It

Getting locked out of your car can be a stressful and frightening experience, especially in situations where you do not know the area you’re in well, or when it is late at night. If you find yourself getting locked out frequently, don’t worry! Pop-A-Lock is here to help with some reasons why this might happen, as well as some useful tips on how to prevent locking yourself out of your car.

Why Do People Lock Themselves Out?

Locking yourself out of your car is usually an accidental mistake. Though technical issues can play into it, misplacing car keys or simply forgetting them inside the car is more common than you would think. Here are some reasons why someone might lock themselves out of their vehicle:

1: Force of Habit

If you’re one to keep your keys in a pocket or purse at all times, taking them out and placing them in the car can cause you to forget them when you’re exiting the vehicle. Since you’re so used to already having them on your person when you leave the car, it can be difficult to remember to take them with you otherwise.

How to prevent this: If you do have to take your keys out of your pocket or bag, be sure to place them somewhere visible within the car. This will make it easier for you to see them, preventing you from forgetting to grab them before you get out.

2: Your Car is Keyless

Not having to worry about putting the key into the ignition and taking it out to turn your car off can also cause you to forget to take your keys when you leave the car. Having a keyless car means you rarely find yourself using the key, making it easy to forget to grab a set of physical keys on your way out.

How to prevent this: Be mindful of grabbing your keys before you leave your car, even if they are on your person. If you remind yourself to check and make sure you have them every time before getting out, it will become a subconscious, automatic process in no time!

3: Your Key Fob Died

Having a keyless car also means that your key fob battery is destined to die at some point. If you get so unlucky as to have it die when you are not in your car or close to someone who can help, you may find yourself in a sticky situation.

How to prevent this: Making sure your key fob has a sufficient amount of battery life left can seem complicated, but in fact, most keyless cars have a notification or warning light that will appear on the dashboard if your key fob battery is running low. From there, changing the battery in your key fob is an easy task.

4: Your Keys are Easy to Misplace

Having keys that are not noticeable enough to catch your attention when you are looking for them can cause you to forget them when exiting the vehicle. If your car keys are on a simple ring with nothing to help you find them, it is possible to frequently misplace them, and not even just in your car.

How to prevent this: Put your keys on something that is bright, colorful, or otherwise noticeable. This can be a lanyard, a carabiner, or even a fun keychain. Having something that helps you see your keys clearly will serve as a reminder to grab them before exiting the car.

5: Being in a Hurry

Maybe you’re late for an appointment, a soccer game, or a family dinner. Rushing to get somewhere is a normal part of the human experience. The fact is, rushing can also cause forgetfulness. And when you’re rushing out of the car to get wherever you need to go, grabbing your car keys can easily slip your mind.

How to prevent this: This is where being mindful, even in moments of stress, comes into play. To avoid locking yourself out due to being in a rush, take a second before getting out of the car and ask yourself if you have everything you need. This can prevent you from forgetting your keys, thereby causing you extra stress later on.

How We Can Help

In the unfortunate event that you do end up locking yourself out of your car, Pop-A-Lock’s automotive locksmiths will be there to help! To speak with one of our expert locksmiths, call or visit our website to learn more about our automotive locksmithing services!