Safe guarding your home is a top priority when you have an autistic child. My child proofing company, Safety Mom Solutions Baby Proofing, works with families with special needs children to identify particular concerns and offer some solutions that can either be done by the family or by our child proofer. Here are a few safety concerns to keep in mind:
Secure all windows and doors – Autistic children tend to wander. Place additional locks on exterior doors and windows. Window wedges, stops or window guards are all great options. Sensors should also be installed to alert you if one of the windows or doors is opened. Also consider installing motion detectors so you will be alerted if your child gets up in the middle of the night and wanders out.
Safeguard kitchens and bathrooms- Install cabinet and drawer locks in both rooms. Sharp objects and electrical items should be removed from counter tops and consider installing a refrigerator lock to prevent your child from ingesting something that could be a choking hazard or poisonous.
Strap furniture and TVs – Even seemingly light-weight furniture could cause a serious injury if it falls onto your child. Use furniture straps or L-Brackets to secure furniture to walls and heavy duty Velcro to attach TVs to tables or entertainment units.
Protect pools and hot tubs – Autistic children are attracted to water. Hot tubs should always be covered when not in use and pools must be completely surrounded by a fence with a self-latching gate. Insure that the area around the pool is free of any objects that a child could climb on to get over the fence. And, if your child is missing for even a moment check the pool area first. Even seconds could be the difference between life and death.
Inform neighbors and local authorities – In the event that your child wanders away, it’s important for neighbors to have contact information for you and to know that your child is autistic if they see him. Also, alert your local police to the fact that you have an autistic child in case he gets lost. You might need to educate them a bit as to his specific issues – Is he verbal? Does he have an aversion to touch? Will he run away from police car lights or sirens? Make sure that your child always has his address and phone number attached to an article of clothing that he’s wearing, an ID bracelet, or a chain or tag for his shoe.
While many of the child proofing items can be installed by you, it’s a good idea to have a professional come in to offer you some tips that you might not have considered. When hiring a baby proofer, find out if they have experience in safe guarding homes for autistic children.