Parents of young children know all too well the importance of thoroughly childproofing the home. However, for parents of children with learning, social and behavioral issues, safety is a particularly pressing concern regardless of the child's age. Parents must modify their children's environment to promote special needs safety well into adolescence and beyond. A few essential safety tips for children with ADHD, Asperger's, and other neurobehavioral challenges include being mindful of sharp objects and reducing the risk of wandering.
Keep Sharp Objects Out of Reach
A special needs safety plan should include provisions for keeping sharp objects out of reach. Parents could designate one kitchen drawer for this purpose. They can store knives, scissors, corkscrews, peelers graters, and similar objects in the drawer, and install a lock on it.
Some children with social or behavioral issues are drawn to appliances. Some of them may even try to climb inside appliances or turn them on. Parents can purchase appliances that have added safety features, such as lock-out devices and hidden control panels.
Stoves can be particularly hazardous for children with special needs. To improve the safety of gas stoves, a licensed gas fitter can install a safety shut-off valve, which could be hidden in a nearby kitchen cabinet. Parents who opt for this safety feature should be careful to never let their children see them operate the valve.
Guard Against Wandering
Children with Asperger's and similar neurobehavioral challenges are particularly prone to wandering. When they wander, they tend to head for hazardous areas, such as bodies of water and train tracks. Securing the home and alerting the neighbors to the possibility of wandering are good first steps to take.
However, a determined child can still find a way to bolt. Parents might consider using a tracking device that is attachable to the wrist or ankle, and a medical ID bracelet. Additionally, a specialist can teach safety tips for children to prevent wandering, such as teaching them to obey printable stop signs that parents can place on doors and windows.
Take a Proactive Approach
For children with special needs, there are virtually limitless hazards in everyday environments. A proactive approach to special needs safety should include professional intervention to correct the underlying causes of impairment.
To learn more about why our whole-child approach is the most effective way to help your child, contact us online or find a center near you.