Smart home devices to make your holidays safer
- Video doorbells and related devices can deter porch pirates.
- Reduce the danger of fire from your Christmas tree, fireplace or decorative candles with smart technology such as indoor cameras.
- Avoid kitchen mishaps with smart appliances.
The tinsel! The lights! That family feeling, those friendships—the fear and loathing?
This ostensibly most wonderful time of the year is lovely for most. But it’s profoundly stressful as well. According to the American Psychological Association, 89 percent of Americans report suffering burdensome holiday-related stress between November and January.
That makes sense, really. Shopping, decorating and entertaining can put one in mind of money woes. Travel is inherently stressful (and often expensive), but so is celebrating alone. It’s easy to see how stressed-out people might take shortcuts and inadvertently overlook important safety measures.
Here’s where smart home devices come in. Smart home devices are on the bleeding edge of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), a digital-technological concept that combines internet connectivity with local devices that perform a variety of operations. These devices can help prevent, or at least mitigate, stressors such as package theft, kitchen mishaps and more. View our list of holiday smart home devices to decide which are best for you.
According to Safeatlast.co, a theft-security website, the average family receives 27 packages a year. About one in five families has experienced package theft; the average value of the item(s) stolen is $140.
Nationwide, 1.7 million packages are stolen daily, amounting to an estimated $25 million in lost merchandise. That adds up to more than $620 billion in loss annually.
It’s no wonder many homeowners are turning to smart home devices to deter porch pirates. Improve outdoor holiday safety with these smart home devices:
- Video doorbells to alert you when a package arrives. Many feature an intercom feature that allows you to speak to—or yell at—people within range without your having to venture outside.
- Motion detector lights flood a porch or yard with bright light whenever they detect movement. They can’t distinguish between, say, animals and thieves, but one is better safe than sorry.
- Outdoor security cameras survey outdoor property in a sophisticated way.
- Automatic front door locks secure your door while still allowing you to admit guests without need for a key.
- Wi-Fi enabled garage systems alert you that the garage door has been left open and will allow you to shut it remotely—or, on the other hand, to open it to allow a delivery.
- Outdoor smart plugs allow you to put your holiday light display on a schedule. This means you can make it appear that you’re home even when you’re not. Remember, a dark house is thief bait.
The holiday season is a period of light—and, therefore, of potential fire disasters. From old, non-LED Christmas lights to candles to fireworks, trouble is lurking in plain sight. Improve holiday safety with indoor smart home devices such as:
- Smart smoke detectors alert when a fire breaks out and automatically notify the fire department for you.
- Indoor cameras allow you to monitor every area of your home, including your Christmas tree and fireplace—likely origin sites of fire throughout the holiday season.
- Smart plugs let you use your cell phone to turn your decorative lights on and off. You can also put them on a timer, so you don’t accidentally leave the lights on all night.
- Smart thermostats allow you to adjust your HVAC system from your phone. If a fire should break out, you can cut circulation from that room to help limit smoke damage to other rooms.
- Tree nanny watering systems can tell you how much water your Christmas tree is getting and alert you before it dries out so much that it becomes easily flammable.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking incidents are by far the leading cause of household fires and fire-related injuries, annually resulting in (per 2021 data):
- 135 deaths
- 3,000 injuries
- $494 million in property loss
Such incidents peak, unsurprisingly, on Thanksgiving, when U.S. fire departments see a 297 percent increase in incidents over the daily average.
Happily, there are kitchen-centric smart home devices out there that may be able to prevent what we’ll euphemistically call holiday burnout:
- Smart appliances—such as ovens or stovetops—alert you if you forget to turn them off.
- Smart speakers or smart displays allow you to add voice control to your gadgets, enabling you to set separate timers for each.
- Voice-controlled faucets keep your hands free and save time.
Homeowners must be vigilant about potential holiday-related hazards. Smart home technology can perform some of the heavy lifting. Follow the links below to learn more about how you can improve holiday safety with smart home devices.