Child Proofing for pre-school aged autistic kids

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BrookeBC
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02 Apr 2011, 12:32 pm

Well my baby is no longer a baby, she just turned 4 and she's outgrowing all the child-proofing in our home and I think it's time to upgrade. Here are some of our challenges, I'd appreciate any suggestions:

- The fridge - she just discovered that there is all kinds of yummy stuff in the fridge like syrup and cheese whiz. The baby locks I've looked at look like junk that she'll be able to figure out easily.
- Kitchen cabinets - she's outgrown the usually latching devices and is able to easily open everything
- Exterior doors - right now the child proof door knob covers are still working, but I don't think for too much longer. She is a wanderer and will bolt. I have deadbolts on the front and back doors, and a sliding patio door.
- The stove
- Her bedroom is okay, we have a door that locks from the outside at night.

Thanks for your tips!



azurecrayon
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02 Apr 2011, 5:24 pm

here are some safety measures we have either used or contemplated:

fridge: plastic baby locks, surprisingly effective since my son didnt have the dexterity to open it. with a more adept child, you could use a lock and hasp.
kitchen cabinets: if the usual catches are no longer enough, try the kind that secure two knobs of adjoining cabinets together. if you dont have knobs, again, lock and hasp.
exterior doors: chain or swing bar door guard (like the ones in hotels) up high out of childs reach. you can also use a deadbolt up high, or one that locks from inside at regular level and keep the key out of childs reach.
sliding glass doors: a security bar, these can be locking or not, install them up high out of reach.
stove: never had to worry about this one, our stove has the controls on the back instead of front. we do have a baby gate in the doorway to the kitchen still, and use it when cooking sometimes to keep our son out.

alarms: you can get simple magnetic alarms to put on your doors and/or windows that sound an alarm when opened (two pieces, one on door and one on frame, alarm goes off when magnetic connection is broken). some of them allow you to set it to chime instead, little friendlier noise but harder to hear. they are pretty cheap, you dont have to pay $15 a piece from homedepot, amazon has them at decent prices instead.

we had a period where we used a hook and eye closure on the outside of the bedroom door, but be cautious that it presents a real safety hazard if the child cannot get out of the room in an emergency. we used it for 1-2 hours a night, and once he was asleep, we unlocked it. then we used a baby gate in the hallway to prevent him leaving the bedroom area in case he did get up, he could get to the bathroom and our bedroom, but not into the living room or kitchen. you can get two gates and mount them on top of each other, as long as one is a free-swinging and not tension gate, if they are old enough to go over a closed baby gate. a little velcro on the gate and wall will let you keep the gates stuck to the wall out of the way during the day.

my asd kids have never been much of a problem in this area, my autie is uninterested in the stuff in the cabinets and only gets into the fridge when really hungry or thirsty. the one we had to keep out of stuff was our NT son. he learned to unlock deadbolts when he was 2 and managed to escape the house a few times before we could get a new security latch installed in our rental house.


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K - 6 yrs med/school dx classic autism
C - 8 yrs NT
N - 15 yrs school dx AS


psychohist
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02 Apr 2011, 9:50 pm

Is she unsupervised much?

If not, you might consider investing the time in explaining to her what's appropriate to mess with and what's not. Even if you have to explain everything 20 times, her behaving appropriately the next 1000 times might be worth it.



missykrissy
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02 Apr 2011, 11:56 pm

psychohist wrote:
Is she unsupervised much?

If not, you might consider investing the time in explaining to her what's appropriate to mess with and what's not. Even if you have to explain everything 20 times, her behaving appropriately the next 1000 times might be worth it.


that's a great idea but it doesn't always work that way. i have explained to my step-son ten thousand times what he can and can not have and why but when he decides he wants something it doesn't matter how many times i've told him not to touch it. some of our kids are more stubborn than others and if they figure they should be allowed to have it then it won't matter to them that they aren't supposed to.

at my house we have locks on everything. some things have the locks that go over two knobs. other things are locked with bike locks or chain/padlock. we don't lock the fridge but we also don't keep junkfood in there so if he really wants a cucumber or some yogurt he can have it. so far he hasn't smashed any eggs or anything because i've told him they have germs from falling out of chicken. so far the only issue there has been him stealing food and hiding it around his room which is something he's always done anyways. my SIL has had no problems with the fridge locks you can get anywhere. her son knows how to open them but it's too much of a hassle for him or maybe a reminder that he shouldn't be in there so he goes and gets a grown up to help. all knives and pointed utensils are both locked and out of reach. our front and back doors to outside have the sliding chain locks on them way up at the top. you could also use other types of security locks along the top of the door. last sept we had a little boy get killed outside our house. he was two and his mother had just passed away and he went to live with his aunt about a block from here. she wasn't watching him and he got out. our pdd-nos boy watched that boy get hit and die as he often sits at his window watching the lights turn red/green. the next day we had locks on all the doors and alarms on the windows, that should be your first priority. even if your house is a rental don't wait for the landlord to do it. they are cheap at the hardware store and easy to install. i've never tried to childproof my stove. the knobs don't turn unless you press them in so i guess they are sort of childproof already. we recently bought some pantry shelves with handles on them to put around the house to lock up any other things we don't want destroyed like my makeup and to hide money and stuff from him as he tends to have sticky fingers.



BrookeBC
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03 Apr 2011, 11:33 am

psychohist wrote:
Is she unsupervised much?

If not, you might consider investing the time in explaining to her what's appropriate to mess with and what's not. Even if you have to explain everything 20 times, her behaving appropriately the next 1000 times might be worth it.


I agree with you 100% on this one. The problem is that this process takes time, not sure how much time, if it's a phase she'll grow out of in 6 months, or if I'm still going to be teaching the same lesson 2, 3 or 4 years down the road, so I figue it's best upgrade the child proofing in the house incase we're still dealing with this when shes 6 or 7.

And she is supervised the majority of the time, but I'm only one person and untill I'm able to grow eyes in the back of my head, there will always be times when she can get into mischief.



Daria
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27 May 2011, 8:18 am

It is impossible to supervise your children at all time – this is why childproofing the home is so important. I try to make my home as children friendly as possible, keeping informed about child safe products. In fact, just last week I bought some new roller blinds for their room, which feature a special child safe device, and I'm planning to do so for all the windows in our home. You wouldn't believe how dangerous common blinds can be for small children and how many blinds companies have recalled their products for child safety reasons. Here is where I bought my blinds from: http://www.blindsuk.net/roller_blinds.html Hope this helps



draelynn
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27 May 2011, 7:15 pm

Does he have any textural issues? Say, if you coat the handles with vasaline? Remove all things that make climbing to reach upper easy and move all of his favorite items to the highest shelves. Out of site- out of mind.

We have a double doorfridge - we used a cabinet babylock that had two loops that threaded through the handles and into the latch. It was a dexterity challenge even for us to get it open. We needed to use that until my daughter was 6 1/2.

Maybe a daily 'safety check' with special safety inspector girl will help her take charge. make a big deal out of it. special hat or vest. Inspect the kitchen every day. Place special safety seals on all cabinets (stickers) - if the seal is broken this cabinet is unsafe! Locks on fridge locked. Learn about the knobs on the stove and make sure they are all in the safe off position - I used a mug of hot water (with hands wrapped around the outside) to teach what hot meant. Safety sticker on stove door because that is a highly dangerous area. (all sticky post it notes would work well or any repositionable sticker) I would also discourage cruising and snacking in cabinets and fridge by leaving out something that she can safely snack on throughout the day. Let her pick it (within mom's reason) and maybe let her help pick a special new bowl from the dollar store to put it in. Decorate it with her name and make sure everyone knows it is HER bowl and everyone else keep out!

My little dictator - ummmm - my little ANGEL... loved feeling in charge and having some 'authority'. Putting her 'in charge' of her discipline issues without directly pointing them out made her - bossy but better behaved otherwise! It was a good trade off for us. :)



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29 May 2011, 4:45 am

Put locks up high....this does not always work because if she is like my kids, they are monkeys and do climb....and are smart enough to get a chair. I got these little alarms from the Home Depot they go on the top of a door and whenever the connection is broken an alarm goes off....they are cheap and easy to install (sticky tape). You can also use these alarms for cupboards with any poisons or medicines in them as well, they are easy to turn off. Its a good idea to leave some cupboards down low with things for her to get into like plastic containers, ect. That way she can still explore.



Kaytsmom
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11 Aug 2011, 9:21 pm

I am so glad I found this. We had this same problem. There are a few things you can do that have worked GREAT for us! My daughter is 4 1/2 and we have the exact same problem.. Everything has to be locked. For the fridge go to amazon and type in fridge padlock. they work awesome! Come with 2 keys and are stuck by sticky stuff not screwed into your fridge. We just keep the keys hanging off the wall high enough she cant reach them on a thumb tack. For the cabinets go to lowes and in the childproofing area they have magnetic locks that you put on the inside of the cabinets and take off the handles. The only way to open is if you put the strong magnet that comes with it on the outside where the lock is to unlock it then pull it open. These two things have been a lifesend! I hope this helps you a lot because I comp understand the stress it brings.



rept12
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04 Sep 2017, 2:58 am

You need childproofing in each and every area of the house.From your bathroom to kitchen, bedroom and living room.
In the bathroom, you could check the temperature of water and other things.


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08 Sep 2017, 4:01 am

Don't leave her alone in a locked room at night; there could be a fire and she would be unable to get out! What if the fire starts in or near her room?


Maybe put a padlock on the fridge somehow? Like with chains? Like, a combination lock, which can't be picked? Maybe put combination locks on the cupboards too; those other locks can be picked.