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.
- Includes 4 window/door alarms, each with 3 adjustable settings off/chime/alarm
- Loud 120 decible alarm sounds when door or window opens, helps deter intruder and alert residence
- Easy and convenient to install, requires no wiring, mounting hardware and instructions Included, designed for indoor use only
- Built in low battery test button to easily check battery life, Includes four LR44 batteries for each alarm
- Comes with a 90 day limited warranty; Perfect for home, garage, apartment, dorm room, mobile home, RV, office and more
- 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
- 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!
- BEFORE PURCHASING, PLEASE FIRST MEASURE THE THICKNESS OF YOUR DOOR. Works on most hinged doors up to 1 3/8" thick, including French doors and double doors. Works for doors with levers, knobs, and even large or uniquely shaped handles. Does NOT work on any type of sliding door on a track, such as bifold doors, pocket doors, sliding glass doors, or sliding decorative barn doors. Also does NOT work on patio screen doors, storm doors or double swing doors (that swing both ways).
- REQUIRES ONE SCREW (INCLUDED) TO BE DRILLED INTO YOUR DOOR FRAME. The GlideLok has holes for the possible attachment of a hook or rod (NOT INCLUDED), which is helpful for especially tall doors / shorter adults. If you do not attach a rod, you must be able to reach the top of your door, as that is where you will slide the GlideLok back and forth.
- DURABLE METAL WON’T CRACK OR BEND LIKE CHEAP PLASTIC MODELS. GlideLok is the only top-of-door childproofing system of its kind made of high-quality painted metal, not flimsy plastic. So it will last you for years keeping toddlers from opening doors to unsafe areas in your home. The GlideLok makes your life easier and - most importantly - keeps your little ones safe.
- RESTS ON TOP OF THE DOOR SO KIDS CAN’T REACH IT. Unlike door knob covers or other door lever locks, the GlideLok sits on top of your door, so it’s completely out of reach and your child can’t dismantle it. It is also unobtrusive and blends in with your décor. Most people won’t even realize it’s there.
- ADULTS CAN CONVENIENTLY LOCK AND UNLOCK THE DOOR FROM BOTH SIDES. Unlike other types of door lever handle locks, you will not get trapped in a room while your child wanders around the house alone. Adults can operate this lock from both sides of the door. Also, if you don’t need it locked for a period of time, simply leave the GlideLok disengaged and you won’t have to unlock every time.
- 【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
- 【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
- 【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
- Approximately 3.75" wide x 5" high- removable and reusable on clean surfaces
- Use on anything! machines, doors, vehicles, or just for decoration!
- 3M premium quality vinyl - Indoor / outdoor use - Weatherproof / Waterproof
- Laminated for added glossy protection - Up to 7 year lifespan - UV protected - bold color
- "AUTISTIC OCCUPANTS IN VEHICLE" - decal sticker
- SAFETY FIRST: Kid's Field Trip ID Wristbands are great for keeping your kids safe when on school outings. If you became separated from a child at a busy museum or other school field trip, they may have difficulty in communicating to those around them due to their age, or language differences - these wristbands provide the answer.
- WEAR ANY WHERE: These wristbands are designed to hold up through any kind of field trip or outing. They're waterproof and durable, so they won't rip, bleed, or tear throughout your trip. Whether it's a day to the waterpark, zoo, museum, or even the mall, you can count on Kenson Kids ID Bands to help keep your child or student safe.
- THOUGHTFUL DISCRETION: The ID Brands include all your child's essential information to help them in the case of an emergency, but it's all kept safe on the inside of the wristband. This way, passersby and other prying eyes can't read the details, but in a necessary scenario, the information is easily accessible for good Samaritans.
- MOM MADE-MOM APPROVED: Kenson Kids is a North Carolina, Mom owned company based in Youngsville, NC. The "I Can Do It" Reward Chart was the first of a growing product line produced by two moms, Jennifer Edmundson and Jennifer Kent. It is our mission to create durable high-quality products that bring out the best in kids and make parenting easier.
- PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS: Kenson Kids Field Trip ID Wristbands - 6 Pack - Waterproof and Discreet - One Size Fits All. Multi-Language: includes English, French, and Spanish. Durable. Disposable. Includes fields for Child's Name, Teacher's Name/Phone, Parent's Name/Phone, Emergency Contact, School, and Allergies/Medical/Other.
- Adjustable, soft head band and cushioned ear cups create a comfortable fit from toddler to teen.
- Great for kids who need extra hearing protection due to sensory sensitivity, autism or aspergers.
- Stylish and unique, our ear-muffs come in fashionable patterns that your kids will want to wear.
- Ear muffs are lightweight and collapse to an easy packing size to go wherever life takes you.
- Hearing protection that is perfect for sporting events, concerts, fireworks and life's everyday loud noises. Ear muffs are rated to 27db, and meets ANSI requirements.
- Soft faux suede material
- FIRE RETARDANT
- INSIDE POCKET for medical information sheet
- Included medical information sheets
- Secure Snap Closure
- Glow in the dark (photoluminescent)
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