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.
- SAFETY LOCKS + SAFETY STAINLESS STEEL ROPE. Kids cant open by themselves and STRANGERS Cant open either without the key. The Stainless steel is stronger enough even cant cut by scissors. Which Improve security in great degree.
- 2 IN 1 UPGRADED DESIGN. You are not only get an Child safet Leash ,you got a child backpack leash as well. You can use anyway you want.
- 2.5M [98Inch] LENGTHEN VERSION. Give your kids the most distance in safety way.
- 360 DEGREE ROTATION. You can walk any direction you want with your little one.
- WIDEN SHOULDER PAD. Offer your kids the great experience when using it.
- High Quality Vinyl Decals and Stickers are UV protected and Waterproof that last for more than 7 years in Outdoor conditions during Rain or Sun.
- Our Premium Quality Stickers go through stringent Quality Control procedures to ensure best Designs and top Quality products.
- Simple and Easy Installation, just Peel and Stick. Low tack adhesive does not leave Sticky Residue after Removal.
- Our Stickers are Printed with ECO-Friendly Inks resulting in Vibrant Colors that will not Fade.
- Child with Autistic Occupant in Vehicle Autism Awareness Vinyl Decals Beach Bumper Stickers are perfect for Car Truck SUV Van Window Bumper Wall Laptop MacBook Water bottle Coffee Mug Skateboard and Any Smooth Surface.
- 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
- [ 20 LOCKS + 2 KEYS ] Baby Child Safety Magnetic Cabinet Locks Work Both for Drawers and all Cabinets. Improved Locks Extra Stronger Magnetic enough to keep a house cat or toddles out.Child Proofing Locks with Magnet key control. 3M Adhesive for Cabinets & Drawers - No Tools, No drill, No holes
- [ WORKS FOR ALL CABINETS AND DRAWERS ] Extra Stronger Locks work on Max 2 inches cabinets door and work on all cabinets and drawers door for Childproof. Use them in the kitchen, bathroom, pantry room, storage area, and bedroom. They"ll even work for a 30 lbs determined dog who gets into the cabinets!
- [ INVISIBLE FROM OUTSIDE ] Upgraded Locks install inside cabinets or drawers, completely concealed from children and guests, making your home more appealing, while also providing ideal child protection
- [ KEEP YOUR BABY SAFE ] The magnetic baby safety lock is to keep your curious little kids away from drawers and cupboards filled with dangerous tools or chemicals with simple, allowing you to have peace of mind while your children explore your home. Easy to install. Peel and stick.
- Key Lock Design: Unlike the old kid leash that uses hook and loop closure which is easy to be opened by children or others, our upgraded toddler leash comes with a small key on the parent's wristband. If you want to open the child's wristband, you must use the key on the parent's wristband, making it safer to use.
- Adjustable Design: Not only is the rope stretchable with the longest length of 1.5m/4.9ft, but also the size of the bracelet can be adjusted freely (up to 14cm), which is suitable for children of different stature.
- Comfortable Design: There is cushioning cotton inside the bracelet, which makes it soft and comfortable to wear. The connection between the rope and the bracelet can be rotated 360 degrees to prevent the rope from winding.
- Anti-lost: Our child leash allows children to do activities independently and at the same time keep them within the sight of parents, especially in crowded outdoor places, to prevent children from getting lost.
- High Quality: The rope is made of stainless steel, which is strong and durable, not easy to cut off, and the connection between the bracelet and the rope is connected by metal joints, not easy to separate, and can be used for a long time.
- SAFETY FIRST: The Safety Harness of this Backpack Helps Keep Your Child Safe and Close by While Shopping, Walking, and Traveling in Crowded Places. Toddler backpack with compartment, child wrist strap and safety harness are all included
- COMFORTABLE ADJUSTABLE STRAPS: The Comfortable and Adjustable Straps Allows for Easy Use for Growing Toddlers, and The Detachable Leash allows The Product to Double as Just a Backpack When you return to a Safe Location
- UNIVERSAL SIZE: One Size Fits Most Kids From 1-5 Years Old and Adjusts as They Grow
- MACHINE WASHABLE: This Backpack Comes in Attractive and Fun Designs that Your Child would Love to Wear and is Machine Washable
- 360 DEGREE SWIVEL: The 360 Degree Swivel Feature allows for Free Movement and Prevents Tangling
- Fade resistant, Weatherproof, Waterproof, Easy to apply, Easily visible.
- 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
- 2 covers,extra long, fade resistant, waterproof, easily visible to police and EMT
- Free hands for parents - Whether you prefer a hands-free leash or a traditional one, we've got you covered. The leash is provided with a convenient detachable padded neoprene handle so that it can be switched from hands-on to hands-free in a matter of seconds! The waistband included has an adjustable length(from 28’’ to 49’’), it has a locking buckle so will not accidentally open, and a sturdy metal D-ring for attaching the leash. Enjoy a hands-free leash belt that lets you freely use your hands
- Safe and comfortable– The HappyVk child harness with a leash will keep your kid comfortable and safe at the same time. For safety reasons, we used heavy-duty metal clips and D-rings for leash connecting. The chest strap is closed with a Locking Buckle so for kids not be able to open it. The harness is very adjustable, lightweight, for best comfort. The breathable mesh cloth on the back is highly increasing the comfort. For adult's convenience, the leash has a detachable padded neoprene handle.
- Highly adjustable and easy to use - Our kid safety harness is made to fit children of 1 to 4 years old. The soft cotton shoulder and chest straps can be adjusted to find the most comfortable position for each child. The chest strap can adjust on the horizontal, but it also moves up and down for best positioning. The leash is easy to be attached/detached to the harness by using a metal clip. The clips are having a 360° rotation head so the leash will not tangle.
- Anti-lost - Keep your children close to you while out in public and at the same time give them freedom. The leash length can be adjusted from 39ʺ to 78ʺ, depending on indoor or outdoor activity made. The leash harness can be used on multiple occasions, in crowded places: shopping places, amusement park (like Disneyland), airport or during travel and daily walking.
- High quality and attractive design - We created an original design for the embroidery on our safety harness for kids, to make sure we made it unique. This adorable design will make your kids love it and enjoy to wear it everywhere. Sturdy, we made it of high-quality materials, with durable and robust metal swivel hooks and D- rings. Our harness for children comes with a drawstring bag, to keep it clean and easy to store.
- Extra long cover with large graphics for greater visibility, fade resistant, waterproof, easily visible to police and EMT
- 【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.
- 【Fast Charge & Long Battery Life】With large battery capacity of 800mA, it can be used for 2 hours continuously when fully charged.
- 【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.
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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