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Keeping your autistic child safe: Practical tips for parents

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

Keeping your autistic child safe

For most people, home is their castle. As a parent of a child with autism, your home more often becomes your fortress. And carefree trips to the zoo or the park? They're not going to happen -- not without major planning and precautions, anyhow. But that doesn't mean you have to live in a constant state of stress and fear. Find out what some other parents have done to keep their autistic children safe -- and what you can do, too.

"Oh no - where did he go?!"

Eight-year-old Hamza Rehman has ASD, and his mom, Riffat Rehman, constantly worries about him getting lost. Hamza's inability to speak compounds this problem.

Autistic boy with ID bracelet

Since many children with ASD cannot communicate effectively, it is important that they have proper identification in the event that they run away or get lost in the crowd. The risk of elopement is a major concern as soon as your child with autism becomes mobile. If your child leaves home without supervision, he or she is then vulnerable and may be unable to return home or tell a stranger where he or she lives.

Some children can be taught to carry an identification card in a wallet or fanny pack and can learn to show their identification cards if they are not able to verbalize the information. But if your child lacks verbal skills or is afraid of strangers, there are many options still available.

For example, a medical ID bracelet or necklace can work well -- as long as your child can tolerate wearing it. Start by choosing a comfortable sport-band style ID (as seeon on the boy at right) or a silicone wristband in your child's favorite color personalized with your name and emergency contact information -- see details on both types below. Persist as much as possible to encourage your little runner to keep it on. (Is the wrist simply a no-go? Try his ankle.) Another option is to use iron-on labels on his clothes.

Padlock bullet pointTip: To make it less likely to lose your child in a crowd, dress him or her in a brightly-colored t-shirt

Autism safety resources: Where to get what you need

So where do you begin with this all? Here are links to several safety devices and tools to help you and your child:
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Identification equipment for kids with autism

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Surveillance/monitoring a child with autism

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Keeping your autistic child close & safe

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Emergency locators/GPS tracking for autistic kids

Of course, there's nothing that will feel as good as holding your child safe in your arms. And while none of these tools and techniques can ever replace adult supervision, they can help you sleep a little better at night, stress out less during the day... and maybe even give you more sweet chances to hold your little one in your arms.

For more on autism, see:

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