As a childcare facility, it's crucial to assure families that their children are in a protected environment. That's why implementing a secure solution that is convenient and accountable is essential. Electronic door locks are reliable and ensure that only authorized individuals enter your center while providing an added layer of attendance validation by capturing photos and signatures during drop-off and pick-up. With various electronic door locks on the market, finding the right one can make all the difference in safeguarding the security of your center, staff, and the children under your care.
What is the best way to secure the entrance and doors to my childcare center?
You can take a few steps to secure your childcare center's entrance and doors. An obvious step is properly training your staff and enforcing protocols such as verifying parents' and authorized individuals' identities during drop-off and pick-up. Another key step is implementing video surveillance, which can cover entrances, lobbies, hallways, and other areas to deter potential intruders and capture footage if an incident happens.
But, one of the most effective measures is to install electronic door locks. These advanced locking systems use electronic components, such as sensors, keypads, key cards, or biometric readers, to control access to a building or room. Unlike traditional locks that rely on physical keys, electronic door locks offer enhanced security features and convenience and allow only authorized individuals to access your childcare center. In addition, they can be easily managed and monitored.
What to look for
In the past, some of these digital locks were directly integrated into legacy software via a connection to a personal computer. While this type of integration may seem useful at the time, many providers complain of issues with the hardware or with the connection to the computer. Therefore, before purchasing, do some research to ensure the lock you choose is a good fit for your center and the systems and software you have in place.
Some things to consider when shopping around for electronic door locks are:
- Number of codes: Do you want a single door code shared by all parents, or does every parent have a unique code? Make sure the lock can handle the number of codes you'll need.
- Method for setting codes: How are codes added or adjusted? Some locks use apps, while others are set directly on the lock. Think about which way you prefer.
- Type: Most numerical locks are a deadbolt. You may instead need a lock directly on the door handle itself.
- Power source: Electronic door locks can be battery-operated or require a power source. Consider the best option for your business and its door's capabilities/location.
Suggested electronic door lock models
Electronic door locks are widely used in various settings, including residential homes, commercial buildings, and hotels. As you explore your options, remember that you want an electronic door lock designed for use in a childcare program. For example, the main criteria is that the lock allows many families to enter a childcare center securely without individual keys. Instead, they'd likely unlock the door with a numerical pin on a keypad, a smartphone, or touch ID.
The following list is a great place to start. Of course, it's always a good idea to read the customer reviews before you buy.
- Lockly Secure Plus, Keyless Entry Door Lock
- Harfo Smart Door Lock
- Kwikset Halo Wi-Fi Smart Door Lock
- Hornbill Smart Door Lock
- Yale Assure Lock 2, Key-Free Touchscreen Lock with Wi-Fi
- Yale Assure Lock 2, Smart Lock W-Fi Deadbolt with App/Keypad/Key Access
How to install
After you've chosen the most compatible lock for your daycare center, it's time to install it. It's important to note that the specific installation steps and difficulty level may vary depending on the electronic lock model and manufacturer. Therefore, you should refer to the installation instructions included with your lock and follow them carefully to ensure it's installed correctly.
If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the installation process, it's advisable to seek professional assistance from a locksmith or a qualified technician.
Some general steps to follow when installing an electronic door lock include:
- Read the installation instructions: Carefully read the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements, steps, and any special considerations for your electronic door lock model.
- Prepare the tools and materials: Gather all the tools and materials mentioned in the installation instructions. This may include a screwdriver, drill, measuring tape, screws, and other hardware.
- Assess door compatibility: Ensure that your door is compatible with your chosen electronic door lock. Check the door thickness, width, and any additional requirements specified by the manufacturer.
- Check the power source: If the electronic door lock is battery-operated, check the battery levels and replace them if needed. If it requires a power source, ensure the necessary electrical connections are available and accessible.
- Remove existing hardware: Remove any existing hardware, such as the previous lock, latch, or strike plate, as instructed by the manufacturer. Clean the door surface to ensure it's free from debris.
- Install the mounting plate or backset: Follow the instructions to install the mounting plate or backset provided with the electronic door lock.
- Secure the lock mechanism: Connect the lock mechanism to the mounting plate or backset. Make sure it fits securely and operates smoothly.
- Install exterior components: Install any exterior components, such as keypads or key cylinders. Make sure they're aligned and properly connected to the lock mechanism.
- Test the lock: Before completing the installation, test the lock's functionality. Ensure that it locks and unlocks smoothly using the provided key, keypad, or other access methods. This is also the time to test your lock's other features, such as system integrations.
- Set up user access: After the lock is installed, follow the instructions to set up user access codes or permissions. This includes assigning codes to parents and staff and configuring any additional settings.
Secure your center's doors
Selecting the right electronic door lock for your daycare center is a critical decision directly impacting children's safety and security. Investing in a reliable and advanced access control system can provide families with peace of mind, ensure the accountability of drop-off and pick-up procedures, and safeguard your staff and facility.
Remember to always research your options, and when it comes to the installation process, don't hesitate to get outside help to ensure the system is correctly set up.