I want my son to increase his fine motor skills. I do not, however, want him to be able to unbuckle a seatbelt. When your disabled child acquires a new skill, sometimes it is a mixed blessing. Particularly if that new skill puts them in danger. They now have the fine motor skills to open a seat belt (yay!) but do not have the desire or behavioral skills to leave the seat belt on when the car is moving.
So what do you do?
As my friend Judi often says, you either teach the skill or accommodate the lack of skill.
In this case, I am making accommodations.
When Kevin was a baby, he didn’t have a natural curiosity that many babies and toddlers have. Or, he may have had the curiosity but not the motor planning skills to make it happen. We never had to even baby proof the house. My how times change!
Autism Safety and Emergency Plans
Several years ago, I was a Fellow for Save the Children. My role with them was to inform and encourage disability families to create an Emergency Plan. I don’t know why it hasn’t caught on, but it hasn’t. Still, I continue to education (read: nag!) parents about this.
We all worry about how to keep our kids safe. But when they have autism, are non-verbal or rely on others for mobility, our fears are exacerbated. Parents of disabled children need to develop safety plans, with much more urgency than our non-disabled peers. These plans should be based on how well your child can communicate, health needs, and sensory issues.
Having a family emergency plan is critical! It can help you to find your child if he/she goes missing. An emergency plan also serves to reunite you with your child in the event of a natural disaster or school shooting. The first step in your plan should be increasing awareness both in your child and the community. If your child is not verbal or would have trouble telling others that he or she is lost, a bracelet or other product can give adults helpful information. f your child is an eloper, make sure that all family, caregivers, and school staff know this. Talk with your neighbors and local police about your child’s tendency to wander and make sure that they have up to date information. Here in PA, we have the Premise Alert System (started by my friend Susan!). Many of our police departments recognize this, but it’s a great form to take to your local police and fire stations, even if you’re not in PA.Premise-Alert-Form
Teaching Autism Safety Skills
Have regular and frequent safety talks with your child. Many children with autism learn from repetition, so repeating rules and procedures may work for you. It’s important to be aware of comorbid conditions, so that information is presented in a way that doesn’t exacerbate conditions like anxiety.
Parents should do this on their own, and no rely on a school to make this happen. There are just too many issues with IEP non-compliance, and safety is too important of an issue. If your child is in a Life Skills Program or another non-traditional curriculum, it may be easier to get this added to the IEP. Regardless, parents should make sure that this happens and the only way to ensure that is if we do it.
I don’t know of any specialist or expert who does evaluations in this area. I think it’s going to all be on Mom and Dad. But you want to make sure that your child is safe in your car and on their ride to/from school. My bus company had to purchase a special seat for Kevin. And I know that they purchased a harness for another child. Like anything else, if you want it in your IEP, follow the process. Note it in parent concerns, discuss it at the IEP meeting, and then get it on a PWN.
Autism Car and Seatbelt Safety
Your child’s needs will determine what you purchase. Research what you can online. Ask your local police department or transportation department. You can find just about everything. There are seatbelt covers, stickers and decals for cars, harnesses, seat belt buckle covers and other products that disable door handles. You can also call the customer service number of your car manufacturer and ask if they have something.
Seat Belt Locking Clips
These are a necessity for a lot of kids. For some, just putting a lock over the seatbelt buckle will do the trick. But, some kids have the dexterity to get them open. In which case, you may want to try a harness that fastens in the back.
Make sure you practice using it. In the event of an emergency, you want to be able to release it quickly. Still, I believe most police officers and EMTs will tell you that a seatbelt is much more important than the risk of not being able to unbuckle it quickly.
Free Autism Safety Kit
Hopefully what I’ve shown you here will get you started on getting what you need. Thankfully most of these products are inexpensive. I know that the NAA offers a free kit for home safety, but I was unable to find a grant or free program for car safety.
Autism Safety Products
Have regular and frequent safety talks with your child. Many children with autism learn from repetition, so repeating rules, expectations, and plans can be beneficial. When you teach safety rules, make sure to list where to use the rules, such as school, the park, or a store. If your child likes to wander or likes to play in water, make sure to spend extra time talking about those safety rules.
Having a plan can help you to find your child if he or she is missing. The first step in your plan should be increasing awareness both in your child and those around him or her.
Have your child practice what to do if he or she is lost. If your child is not verbal or would have trouble telling others that he or she is lost, a bracelet or other product can give responders helpful information. Make sure your child practices how to show the product.
If your child tends to wander away, make sure that all family, caretakers, and school staff know of this pattern. Give them a plastic-coated card with your child’s name, current picture, diagnosis, emergency contact numbers, and what your child does and does not respond well to. Also talk to your neighbors and local police about your child’s tendency to wander and give them the same up-to-date information. Most police stations have systems, such as the PREMISE Alert System, where you can submit a file for your child with special needs and include important information for responders.
Water is another top safety concern. Check all gates, pool covers, toilet locks, and any other safety devices, especially if your child is drawn to water. When your child can start swimming lessons varies, but being able to swim independently is only one benefit of lessons. Children also learn basic water safety rules through early childhood swim programs. Many programs offer adaptive swim lessons for children with autism. These programs are a great way for your child to learn about water safely and comfortably.
Keep in mind that this list is their top sellers. This is also ‘bot-generated’ and updated based upon sales, not my personal opinion of the product.
- 3 Pagers and 2 Call Buttons, the Idea is for Both Caregiver and Patient/Elderly/Resident/Handicapped/Sick Freedom while Still calling for Help at home. Not need to Yell to Get Someone’s Attention
- Transmitter/Push Call Button is Waterproof. Acceptable for Meal/Soup Splash. And Allow to be Installed in the Washing Room
- Transmitter/Push Call Button is Easy Carry. It can Be Put in Pocket. Or Hang on neck as Pendant. Neck Strap included. Fixed in Bedside/Washing Room. The Fixed Bracket and Double sticker are included
- Pager/Chime Unit has 55 Ring Tones for Your Choice. Operating Range is 500+ Feet in open Area. 5 Level Adjustable Volume From 0db to 110db. Easy Use (Plug and Play) Plug the Receiver into an Electrical Outlet
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- Sleep With Peace of Mind: Join millions of parents and trust Skyla helping create the safe, fun and warm home that you and your family deserve
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- USES: As mothers we know how important it is to feel safe with our children and family having their medical conditions visible. So these are perfect to use as a diabetic bracelet, allergy bracelet and medical bracelet for heart disease, epilepsy, autism, diabetes, metal life alert bracelet, medical bracelets for women, medical alert bracelet for men dvr and More.
- ❤【Secure Lock Design】Secure when you need it to be but opens with the key in a flash. Use the two included keys to lock and unlock the wrist link at your convenience. Kids can't pull it off or wriggle out of it.
- ❤【Sturdy Extended Cord】Rest easy knowing this cord will never break. Coated in abrasive-resistant PU, the thick, extendable wire stretches up to 2.5 meters (8.2 inches), which gives kids just enough freedom for energetic bursts and exploration.
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- ❤【Safety Reflective Tape】To add to the safety of the wrist link, it also features reflective tape so that you can see your kids at night, whether it be the amusement park, crowded streets, shopping malls or other places with low light.
- ❤【Metal 360 Degree Swivel Clip】 Maintain as much freedom as possible for your child while keeping the bracelet secure. Swivel clip rotates in all directions so the cord won't get twisted up.
- 2 SHAPES - ROUND & SQUARE: Each set has 2 Packs Pop Fidget Sensory Toys. One is Circle Shape and the other is Square. You can choose the one you like and enjoy the game
- SAFE MATERIAL WITH GREAT DURABILITY: Made of non-toxic and environmental-friendly Silicone, our fidget toys are safe and durable. You can give your kids to play and you don't have to worry about the safety
- HOW TO PLAY: Press the bubbles in a line and the one who press the last one bubble will lose. Or just bend it, squish it and squeeze it! Help you or your children reduce anxiety and pressure, and build emotional stability
- USE THEM IN MANY WAYS: They are not only be used as toys, but also can be used as a fly pan for your pets, a place mat or a coaster. They are very easy to be cleaned and are dishwasher safe
- GREAT GIFT FOR STRESS RELIEF: This Set can be a great gift for your friends or your kids for stress relief. If you have any questions about the product, you are supported by our great after-sale support
- 【Key-Lock Design】Dr.meter Lock Design ensure that child cannot get rid of anti lost wristbands unless parents unlock the lock (on the child's side) with 2 included keys
- 【2-pack Safety Wristbands】Two is better than one. Blue link can extend up to 8.2 feet, orange link can extend up to 4.92 feet. Both perfect for keeping little ones close by but with more freedom to roam. The upgraded extended cuffs' size will fit all wrists
- 【Comfy and Secure】Ultra-soft, breathable sponge padding and round-cornered velcro straps protects wrists from uncomfortable scratching and sweat while holding the safety wrist cuffs in place
- 【Rotatable and Reflective】Built-in reflective tape keeps your child safe in the dark, while a 360 degree swivel clip allows free and flexible movement. Your kids will stay safe without feeling constricted
- 【High Quality Steel Cord】The thickened steel wire is coated in great PU. It will recoil automatically but won't break, crack. It's a must have leashes for your feisty, energetic kids at outdoors
- PATENTED DESIGN – Child resistant safety cover for existing standard light switch. Extremely durable hinged door clicks closed over the switch. To open, engage all 3 points on the outside edges at the same time. Easy for parents – not for young children up to age 5 or 6 who have not yet developed the dexterity to push all 3 buttons in sync. Unique to the baby electrical safety market, this one-piece patented product deters children, toddlers and pets and encourages energy savings
- EASY TO INSTALL – Works with existing screw holes and requires only a flat-head screwdriver to install. Remove the existing plate around the switch and replace it with a Child Be Safe plate, using the included color-matched screws. Scan the Quick Response (QR) code shown on the included instructions for an easy installation video. No messy and unreliable adhesives
- MADE IN USA – Designed, manufactured, and assembled entirely in the USA using American-made parts
- EXPERT DESIGNED – Thoughtfully designed by a Child and Adolescent Psychologist and an Engineer after their own experiences as parents of twins. The safety door opens by pressing all three side buttons at the same time – something a child under five is developmentally unable to do but is easy for an adult
- SLEEK AND EXTREMELY DURABLE – Slim, low-profile design. Helps protect without looking clunky and makes sanitizing switches quick and easy. Secure cover fits snugly over switch, mounts directly to the wall, and will not wiggle or pop off. Safety device is one piece–no loose or separate parts. Hinge is designed for repeated use without snapping or cracking. Even strong-willed toddlers can’t break, remove, or outwit this safety device. Backed by 1 Year Child Be Safe Product Warranty
- 5 inches tall x 3 inches wide Autism Safety Sticker
- Sticky on the BACK, Applied on OUTSIDE of Window, Bumper, Car, Truck Van
- Sticks to Plastic, Glass, Metal and More
- Made in USA
- PREVENTS CHILDREN ESCAPING THEIR CAR SEAT – Safety Buckle Pro seatbelt cover for kids is the answer to a continuously increasing problem, toddlers unbuckling their car seat while you are driving
- PROUDLY DESIGNED IN THE USA – After a rigorous market research we carefully built Safety Buckle Pro seat belt guard with only a small slit and a finger stopper making it easy to install but impossible to unbuckle by kids whether with toys or other buckles
- UNIVERSAL FIT – Made from stronger and more durable ABS plastic material, works on all tested vehicles with standard seatbelts
- LOCKING CLIP - Get a car seat Locking Clip with every seatbelt cover kit, keeps the car seat tighter and more stable
- MULTIPURPOSE - Very helpful also when it comes to special needs children and older people, decreasing significantly the risk of unbuckle the seat belt
- Easy to Install - Baby proofing cabinets is easier than ever with these child safety locks. Just measure, stick, and secure to a cabinet or drawer. No drilling or tools required.
- Secure - Our child proof cabinet latches use strong 3M adhesive tape that will resist the pulling and tugging of even the most determined munchkins.
- Out of Sight - Do away with cupboard clutter and eyesores. These child locks for cabinets and drawers are designed to remain hidden from the outside.
- Complete Child Proofing Kit - Compatible with most cabinet doors and drawers, this set includes 12 child safety cabinet locks, 2 keys, an installation cradle, a measuring ruler, and extra 3M tape.
- Customer Satisfaction - If you have any questions or concerns about this magnetic cabinet lock set, our team is available and happy to help you find a solution.
- 【Ultra-Silent】Sensory sensitive children are glad to have haircut by this cute "toy". The Ultra-Silent System with working voice of 42dB exceeds most baby hair clippers on the market.
- 【6 Different Lengths】Equipped with 3 guide combs of 6 different lengths (1mm, 3mm, 6mm, 9mm, 12mm, 1-9mm), it meets the needs of different ages and hair styles, even cute pets would enjoy it.
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- 【Superior Water Resistance】The whole body is waterproof at an IPX-7 level. As cutter head can be disassembled in one step, this baby hair clipper can be easily washed. No matter dry or wet hair, it remains smooth working.
- 【Safe & Comfortable】Bololo products are specially designed for baby. This baby hair clipper has Intelligent Monitoring System to prevent hair pulling, with R - shaped rounded corners to avoid scratching baby's sensitive skin.
- An official 26dB NRR and reduces up to 125dB
- Ideal to block out noises caused by airports, Shootings, woodworking, large crowds, gardening, fireworks,
- Lightweight and extremely comfortable to carry around due to the foldable design. Adult & child
- Comes with an adjustable headband for adults
- Strong & high quality parts that make the protective ear muffs sturdy and robust.
More Autism Safety Resources:
- A Guide to Safety, from the Organization for Autism Research
- CHOP Safety Center
- Safety in the Home, from the Autism Society of America
- Philadelphia Police Premise Disability Form
- Chester County Premise Online Form
- General Premise Alert Form, approved in PA
- Premise Alert Form, Spanish
- Vacation Premise Alert Form
- PA Premise Alert FAQ
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