Blog #163~Safety and Your Special Needs Child
I’ve written a few posts about elopement in past blogs. The terror of losing a child is unlike anything else. My son Nick has Down syndrome and autism, and I know first hand how that feels. It is essential to put safety measures in place to prevent wandering/elopement. This week’s blog is about safety and prevention measures from a police officer’s perspective.
Recently at the National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS) retreat, a presentation was given by a NADS member, who is a police officer. Some of the key points made were on safety and wandering/elopement prevention. Seatbelts alone don’t always work for older kids with special needs. There are many seat belt locks available as well as bigger car seats for children over 65 pounds, which have 5 point restraint.
There were several suggestions given to promote safety, and prevent elopement. Putting stop icons on all doors, using door/window alarms, and changing the locks or moving them higher. It might also be necessary, (especially if your child is non-verbal), to invest in a tracking device/bracelet and an identification bracelet. Some police departments have tracking devices available. For more detailed information on this, type in “Blog #142” in the search engine on the top, right side. Blog #142, gives specifics on elopement and autism.
Nick wears a medic alert bracelet that stays securely on. Information on the back includes his name, medic alert number, Down syndrome, autism and non-verbal.
Check with your local police department about getting in the data base to provide more detailed information about your child with special needs. Here in Illinois, the Premise Alert was mandated, in 2009. The Illinois Premise Alert Program (Public Act 96-0788) provides for Public Safety Agencies in the State of Illinois to allow people with special needs to provide information to Police, Fire and EMS personnel to be kept in a database.
In addition to the Illinois Premise Alert Program, a new program aims to take 9-1-1 a step further. Smart911 is a program that supplies 9-1-1 operators with detailed personal information, including names of family members, photos, allergies, pets and more.
Smart911 is available in participating dispatch centers across the United States.Smart911 enhances the information that a 911 call can provide and helps first responders help you faster during an emergency. Citizens create an online profile through a secure website at www.Smart911.com. This profile contains information that might be important in an emergency. If you place a 911 call anywhere within the county, your profile is displayed to the 911 dispatcher at the Emergency Communications Center, and the information is relayed to first responders. Smart 911 is a national service that is available free to everyone. The service can be especially valuable to households with young children, seniors, or anyone with a physical or mental disability.
It is essential to take precautions to promote the utmost safety and security for you child with special needs. Especially if they are non-verbal and have no concept of how to keep themselves out of harms way. That’s what is in my noggin this week.
Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism on Facebook and Pinterest
#nickdsautism on Instagram
@tjunnerstall on Twitter