Safety

    When you think about safety and children it’s a pretty broad spectrum of things. We all go and buy all the child proofing kits when we have a new baby. We all want the car seat to be just right.  The electrical outlets are all covered.  We put gates up at the tops of stairs. These are just common sense things, right?

     Well when you have a child with autism, there is a whole new bag of issues.  With our oldest son, Hunter, he was a little easier in the safety department. However, he still was a flight risk and would virtually go with anyone with a cell phone in hand.  He has some fears of strangers now, but its still an issue at 6 1/2 years old.

    Now our, Tristan, is a different story.  He has been a dare devil since one year old.  As soon as he could pull himself up, he has been a wild man, exploring anything he can reach.  Now you may say “that’s just typical behavior”.  However, anyone watching my son in a doctor’s office will know that there is definately something different about my baby.

     He has been diving out of his crib since a year old.  Now someone would say that once he got hurt he would stop, this is not the case.  In order to keep him from breaking something, we had to put an actual bed beside his crib for him to get out on.  He loves to sleep in the crib but when he’s done, he’s done. 

     Also, he and his older brother still mouth nonfood items just to explore them.  This has lead to many issues with near choking.  So we try to keep close eye on them for toys that may come apart or be too small for them to play with.<br?
     Tristan is a big climber and jumper. We have a gate mounted to the upstairs wall to keep him from getting downstairs.  This is working for the moment.  However, we do not stop there for him.  If he is really determined, he can link his toes and climb over it.  So, we also have a chain lock on all the doors leading to the outside. 

    Both of my children have had near miss episodes with opening the windows and almost falling out.  This has taken some years off our lives.  So now we nail the windows shut to make sure no one is getting out.  Our kitchen is also a pretty unsafe area as well. Tristan is known for climbing the kitchen table and hanging off the light fixture.

    Our outside backyard is fenced in, so one would think that is safe also, right?  Well it is once I put a childproof lock on the outside opening mechanism to ensure other children don’t open it for my kids.   Outside is never really all that safe, however, because he will taste anything he see’s that looks new or different.  The tasting things has greatly improved but he does still like to explore new things with his mouth first.

Now you would think that some of this is just a little excessive, however, this is just a day in my life. Family swim parties are a major stressful event for me and today was like no other. Our boys both love to swim like any other kids. Did you know that drowning is the #1 cause of death in autistic children? Well I didn’t until a few weeks ago, so now I am on hyperalert at the pool.

There is just way too much stress on parents in an open area of water with multiple kids running around. I lost my son for about 3 minutes today during a family picnic. I literally thought I was going to have a heart attack. It is the worst feeling you will ever have. People always want you to be at the party, but they have no idea how it feels when you do not know where your child is when there is an open body of water.

Normally, with a two person team watching constantly, I would not be too anxious about the situation because I have my husband to help. When there is no other designated adult for supervision, something always goes wrong. I will never put myself in a situation like the one I had today, ever. If people want to socailize and have a good time, I will not be bringing my children to swim unless people have a clue of how hard it is to keep 2 kids with autism safe in the water.

You are responsible for keeping your kids safe! Take all the precautions you can. Put up safety stickers in your home windows, to alert others of your child having autism. Get signs put up in your neighborhood to protect your children. Let your neighbors know that your kid may not respond to verbal commands and that they are a flight risk.

If your child is a real flight risk, look into getting a monitoring system to put on your child to wear at all times, to track your child if lost. There are companies that make them and they are expensive but worth the reassurance. Install alarms in your house to alert you when the doors are open. Whatever you have to do to keep them safe do it. If that means missing out on a party or locking up like a prison, so be it. Your child is what is most important.

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