Keeping Your Autistic Child Safe

Posted by Peter Harris

| Pediatrics

Home safety is a concern for all parents, but perhaps even a bigger concern for parents of an autistic child. Summer is here and there is no other time where househould injuries are more common. To help navigate the most common household injuries, here is a checklist from of the most common safety hazards and what you can do to avoid them:

  • Furniture: Secure especially top-heavy furniture to the wall with furniture brackets. Be aware that some electronics are also top-heavy and should be strapped down with tv straps.
  • Cleaning Products: Using a child lock may not be enough to properly store household cleaning products. We strongly encourage using a locked closet or storage cabinet with the key kept in a well hidden location.
  • Doors: Key locks are often not enough to prevent a child from leaving the home. Consider installing a house alarm that alerts you as to when a child leaves the house. If your child is known to wander, a child locator device may be very helpful and will most definitely ease your mind.
  • Visitors: Teach your child safety rules of not opening the door to anyone, especially if they are home alone.
  • Hot water: Sometimes autistic children struggle with sensory challenges, so they may be more at risk for getting burned by hot water simply because they cannot feel hot and cold.  One simple solution is to turn down the temperature on your hot water heater.  If you have an older autistic child, you may want to practice turning on the hot water with the cold water.  You may even put stickers on the hot water knob to remind your child that it is a potential danger to him.  Don’t forget to do this in the shower as well as on your sink faucets.
  • Fire: As with all children, practicing for a house fire is an important safety measure.  Some autistic children may become frightened of the loud alarms in your home, so you may want to purchase a smoke detector that records your voice rather than a traditional one.  Another fire safety tip is to take your child to your local fire department so he can become familiar with the firemen and the gear they wear when they enter your home because some autistic children handle stressful situations better when they have experience with them beforehand, in a calmer setting.
  • Swimming Pools: If you own a pool, fence it in and make sure your gates are self-closing and latch above your child’s reach.  Keep all pool toys and other interesting items out of the pool area when they are not being used.  Ask your neighbors with swimming pools to follow these safety tips and make them aware of your child’s potential for wandering.  

We hope you've found these safety tips to be helpful. If you'd like to know how else our pediatric team can help you or your autistic child, please contact our Liberty Station clinic today!

Author Bio:

Peter embodies the essence and culture of Therapy Specialists. He represents our outpatient clinics to physicians and payers who are interested in working with Therapy Specialists to provide multi-disciplinary therapy services to their patients. He has been working with healthcare personnel and providers in San Diego for the last few years and has made a significant contribution to enhancing our established reputation for quality care in the community. In addition to his responsibility as director of outpatient sales, you have probably seen Peter’s work on our social media sites where he is responsible for curating and posting valuable content for our patients, associates, and business partners. He is also a part-owner of Therapy Specialists and serves on our Board of Directors helping to lead and guide our organization into the future.