My husband and I have recently talked about purchasing a safe. Not that we have valuable jewelry, gold, or wads of cash lying around, but to protect important documents in case of a fire or natural disaster. We’ve also realized that it would be important in case of a robbery, especially if we have all of our renter’s insurance paperwork inside the safe. We’ve looked at a few models, but just haven’t gotten around to making a decision yet.

With that said, a few months back we were visiting my husband’s sister and her family. They had just purchased a huge safe to hold some of their father’s (my father-in-law’s) guns. For various reasons he didn’t want them in his house anymore and gave them to my sister-in-law to hold on to. (This sounds weird, I know, but these are guns that have been handed down, and we can’t just sell them.) Being that they have young children in the house, a safe seemed the best option for housing the artillery.

The moment my husband saw their safe near their front door, glaringly obvious, he made a point that a safe is usually something that’s hidden. My sister-in-law kind of pooh-poohed that idea since it was such a large item and it had been difficult to move. They also thought it was a nice looking safe and liked the idea of showing it off to guests.

Well, kids are really quite bright, and sometimes mischievous. My soon to be nine-year-old niece saw her mother place her birthday gift inside the safe. I have no idea why she place her daughter’s gifts in the same place where they keep the guns (don’t worry, there was no gun accident!), but she did. A week ago, my smarty-pants niece texted my father-in-law asking for the combination to the safe, from her father’s phone! Luckily, my father-in-law had no idea what the combination of the safe was, and he apologized to my brother-in-law, or at least that’s who he thought was asking. Later, my brother-in-law was surfing through his text messages and realized that someone had been asking for the combo to the safe. Lo and behold, he realized that it had been my niece (his daughter) trying to figure out how to get into the safe and see her present!

Now, I can’t for the life of me think of why the present would be in the safe with the guns in the first place. I’m sure it wasn’t that valuable of a gift. But this is where a safe can be NOT SO SAFE! Like my husband had mentioned to his sister, safe’s are usually to be hidden, or at least respected! Something really horrible could have happened had my niece been able to get into the safe. Thankfully she wasn’t able to figure out the combination.

This crazy situation got me brainstorming some safety tips for a safe for future reference:

  • Hide the safe: Even most large safes can fit in a closet or back room somewhere.
  • Keep the safe in the back of the house: If the safe is so large it won’t fit inside a closet, at least put it towards the back of the house where it isn’t a focal point.
  • Respect the safe: Make sure everyone in the family knows that they are not to touch the safe. There may have dangerous, or important, items in the safe that only the adults of the house are allowed access to.
  • Don’t show off the safe: The point of the safe is to hide things. Of course there are collector safes, but these usually don’t hold important or dangerous items.
  • Don’t mix up the idea of frivolous items with important ones! This story clearly shows that there is some logic missing here.

What experiences have you had with safes? Do you use one? Do you know the combination? Do other family members in your household have access to them? What have you told your spouse or kids about the safe?