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.
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
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.
- Extra long, fade resistant, waterproof, easily visible to police and EMT
- ADVANTAGES: If you’re in an accident and if both you and your disabled child is unable to communicate with first responders; these seat belt covers will clearly tell that special care is needed when helping your child.
- TIME SAVING: Save valuable time by providing EMT/first responders with important medical information immediately, even if the parent/guardian is unable to respond.
- EASY TO USE: No extra tools required. Just wrap them around the seat belt strap, then you can slide it to the position that fits you the best
- VISIBLE: Authentic belt alert cover with large graphics for greater visibility, fade resistant, waterproof, easily visible to police, first respondents and EMT.
- BELLT ALERT: These original alert covers were created by Natalie Bell in Australia in the spring of 2019. The product immediately went viral and quickly sold out. But now you can get yours here!
- 【Ultra Quiet】Advanceded noise reduction technology and high quality brass movement motor to enabble this baby hair clipper to work in low vibration and very low working noise about 48dB, just like pillow talking.Baby will be relaxed and eased.
- 【Safe and Comfortable】Special R-sharped design blade with widened rounded tips, ceramic blade and high quality brass movement motor to secure safety. With 0.5mm gap to the skin, the ceramic blade is special designed for 0-12 years old babies.ENSSU baby hair clipper will not harm or scratch infant's sensitive skin. which will enable hairs trimming comfortable and smooth.
- 【Fully Washable】Unique sealing design, the whole body of this baby hair clipper is waterproof at an IPX-7 level. It can be soaked in water for 24 hours.This feature will help you easily tidy up the hairs by using the provided brush and then clean it in water.It is easy to clean and maintenance this baby hair clipper.
- 【Easy Operation】Streamline body curve designed,this baby hairs clipper's size is smaller than other clippers to make this clipper is easier to handle and better trim hairs, especially hairs around the ears. The 3-6mm and 9-12mm guide combs will help you trim your baby's hairs easier. You do not need to nervous and worry about making mistakes.
- 【Warm Tips】We offer 50 days 100% money back guarantee and lifetime customer service to all our customers. We recommend that you can first give your baby a touch of our hair clipper and turn it on to familiarize your baby with its sound before cutting. After your baby feels safe with the hair clipper, you can distract your baby by playing some videos while cutting, or just trimming your baby's hairs while sleeping.
- Excellent Quality, Durable, Fits Seat Harness, Fade Resistant, Waterproof, Washable
- SAFETY FIRST - The child leash keeps your kids at a SAFE distance, while they explore the world!
- 100% ANTI LOST - The DOUBLE cuff on the walking leash for kids provides EXTRA safety & security!
- EASY TO USE - Secure your kid leash on your wrist first, secure on their's. You Are Ready To Go!
- PEACE OF MIND - PEACEFULLY Enjoy your favorite places with our kids leash & kids harnesses.
- MONEY BACK WARRANTY - ON ALL of our child leashes for toddlers, for LIFE, no strings attached.
- 【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
- 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
- With our stickers you ensure safety in your company. The stickers can be stuck everywhere. At the car, the door, at the window, on machines, on cupboards, bags, suitcases, on safety devices, construction machines are necessary for the safety of you or your coworker. Care for alerts in the hotel, restaurant, school, office, hospital, workshop, home or garden. Very good to connect with an alarm system.
- Our signs or stickers (according to article title) are made for your safety. They can be attached anywhere. The signs are not pre-drilled.
- Hanging sign or sticker from INDIGOS. Our stickers stick on all smooth surfaces such as doors, cars, windows, cupboards or even on the wall.
- Meet the legal requirements with our products. We produce with high-performance film or PVC material. Protect yourself, your employees & employees or children in the office, at home or at work, at Farbrik,
- 148mm x 105mm
- 5" x 3 Autism Safety Sticker Sticks to Plastic, Glass, Metal and More
- Sticky on the BACK, Applied on OUTSIDE of Window, Bumper, Car, Truck Van
When you purchase items from Amazon from this site, I receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting A Day in our Shoes.