Cleveland ABA therapist summer safety tips kids with special needs

Cleveland ABA Therapist Summer Safety Tips for Kids With Special Needs

Spring has sprung! The weather is getting warmer. Here in Northeast Ohio, everyone is eager to squeeze every last drop of sunshine from each day. But it’s not time to relax safety standards – especially if you’re a parent of a child with disabilities and/or limited safety awareness. Our Cleveland ABA therapist summer safety tips are intended to help ensure everyone enjoys a happy, healthy summer season.

Unintentional Injuries Among Kids With Disabilities

It’s an unfortunate reality that children with disabilities are at heightened risk of unintentional injuries. These include outsized risk of dangers like:

  • Drowning.
  • Toy-related injuries.
  • Falls.
  • Eloping, wandering, getting lost.
  • Pedestrian accidents.
  • Playground and/or sports injuries.

Some kids with disabilities, delays and other conditions might also be at increased risk of intentional injury in the form of bullying, abuse, neglect and violence.

Exact risks vary depending on the specifics of each child’s condition. Consider initiating a discussion with your child’s Cleveland ABA therapist about whether summer safety measures beyond what’s outlined here could be necessary or beneficial for your child.

Cleveland ABA Therapist Summer Safety Tips

All parents may be able to benefit from the recommendations here, but parents of kids with disabilities may want to be especially vigilant.

Practice your safety skills.

Make it a priority to practice safety skills with your child. Start young, and be consistent. Teach them to always hold a hand in crowded environments or near high-traffic areas. Practice them coming to you right away when you call their name or stopping immediately when you yell “Stop!” or “Freeze!” Special needs parents can’t assume their child will respond as we’d expect of a neurotypical child unless they’ve had a lot of practice doing so.

Get some tracking devices.

Some kids with disabilities are prone to elopement. They might quietly wander off or even bolt the second they see an opportunity. A child who has limited communication or safety awareness skills isn’t going to be able to keep themselves safe, ask for help, or find their way back. Keeping a tracking device on them – on a bracelet, anklet, belt loop, etc. – can be a literal lifesaver in helping you to locate them immediately.

It’s also a good idea to keep a medical ID bracelet, necklace or tag on them so that if they are found by someone else, they can reach you right away.

Teach your child to swim.

Swimming is an important life skill, and kids with special needs may be especially vulnerable to the risk of drowning – particularly during summer. There are adaptive swimming classes all over Northeast Ohio. Ask your Cleveland ABA therapist for a recommendation if you aren’t sure where to go.

Install house, window and pool alarms.

Doors, windows and gates are more likely to be open in the summer months – and you may be less likely to notice your child has slipped out until it’s too late. Installing alarms on doors, windows and pool gates will help ensure you’re notified right away if your child is “making a break for it.”

Talk to your neighbors.

You may not be super tight with the people who live next door, but it may not hurt to make an introduction, tell them about your child’s condition and give them your contact information. That way, if they happen to spot your child walking down the street alone, they’re more likely to realize there’s an issue and either stop them and/or contact you right away.

Look into your local special needs registry for first responders.

Many local police, fire, and emergency response teams have special needs registries for the community. Doing so can help first responders quickly get up-to-speed about your child in the event they are missing or there’s a crisis. In addition to your contact information, you can include details about their medical condition, their medications, their triggers, their communication deficits, things that keep them calm, etc.

If you have questions or need additional insight about strategies to keep your child safe this summer, reach out our dedicated ABA therapy team!

For more information about Cleveland ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy at Therapy and Wellness Connection, Contact Us Online or call our office (330) 748-4807. Serving Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Cleveland, Akron and surrounding communities.

Additional Resources:

Injuries Among US Children With Different Types of Disabilities, 2008, Am. J. of Public Health

More Blog Entries:

How Akron ABA Therapists Identify the Function of Behavior, June 5, 2023, Cleveland ABA Therapist Blog