Safe From What?
These days, that could mean anything from water safety to trafficking, and if your child has a disability “safety” might mean something completely different. As we observe National Safety Month, we take a look at how your child with a disability can stay safe in your home.
Here in Alabama, tornadoes seem to be the norm. At least once a year, if not more, the announcement comes, the sirens blare, and we have to find shelter in our “safe zones.” During a tornado, a safe zone is a location on a lower level away from windows and with something, like a helmet or pillow, to protect the head.
Does your child know where the safe zone is in your house? Better yet, can he or she get there independently? If not, think about finding a spot he or she can access on hir or her own. It’s also a good idea to keep a helmet within his or her reach. Practice your safety plan often, especially right before tornado season. Make sure that your child has access to a phone, helmet, and safe zone just in case something happens to you and you can’t help him or her.
Can your child get out of the house by his or herself in the event of a fire? Can he or she get to the ground independently? Does he or she know how to open a window? You may be thinking, "My child could never hoist him or herself out of a window because he or she only has use of his or her arms." All of these are very important skills that your child needs to learn. What a great reason to get your child started on a strength training program today!
Cell phones are certainly the norm these days, and it’s becoming more and more rare for households to have a land line. If your child doesn’t have a cell phone, do they know how to get to a phone to call 911? Let’s be honest, half the time we have to call our own cell phone just to find out where it is, so how will your child know where to find it? Or, maybe you are like me and keep your phone somewhere that just isn’t accessible to someone who uses a wheelchair. How will your child call for help if they can’t get to a phone? Many Internet and television companies offer home telephone services for free if you “bundle” your payment package. With children in the home, this might not be such a bad idea. If you do go that route, make sure it is installed at a level they can reach.
The final tip is on Internet safety. It doesn’t seem to matter the age or the disability; all kids know how to play on the computer. This can be an especially important topic for children with a learning disability. Children with a learning disability may have a hard time recognizing social cues or what is appropriate or inappropriate to be discussing with a stranger. The website www.ldonline.org does a great job covering online safety for kids with a learning disability. The best way to handle the situation is to be open and honest with your kids. You need to have a conversation about what the risks and responsibilities are when they go online. Experts seem to agree that the pros the Internet can offer your child outweigh the cons and that it’s best not to ban the Internet altogether. So talk to your children about what they should and shouldn’t do on the Internet. If you need some tips on how to do that, here are some helpful websites we’ve found:
- Kid’s Health Internet Safety: www.kidshealth.org
- Promoting Internet Safety: www.autismsocietyofnc.wordpress.com
- NetSmartz: www.netsmartz.org
No one knows how to keep kids safe better than a superhero! Check out our Kids Super Hero Workout to help get your kids in shape to stay safe.