I just found out about these Big Red Safety Boxes, being issued/sold/donated via the National Autism Association.
What a spectacular idea. The aim is to give some tangible support to the families of those kids who bolt. Or run. Or wander off.
Jake used to be this kid. We tore down our lot’s old garage, and had a perimeter fence put up, just to give him a safe place to play. We live on a corner lot, which doesn’t provide for much of a back yard. Jake has always been the kid who would wander off in search of adventure, giving little to no mind of the dangers of his escapades. He’s always been a sneaky little bugger, though. Even the carpenter who put in our fence told us that Jake would watch him carefully, almost as if he was looking for a weak spot. The fence hadn’t been in very long when Jake went missing. Beth searched upstairs and downstairs, again and again with growing fear and anxiety. She’d peeked into the fenced in area, but no Jake. She went back down into the cellar. No Jake. She went back outside and looked under the porch steps. Nothing. She tells me she had this weird Mom-vibe that compelled her to get on her belly and look under the neighbor’s fence. The one that separates our yard from their pool. Sure enough, Jake was standing at the end of the diving board, having stripped off his pants. At that time, he couldn’t swim! The fence must be 8 feet tall, so Beth couldn’t get over it. We couldn’t understand how Jake had gotten under it. Beth ran around to the neighbor’s gate, but being conscientious people, they had locked it. She later told me that she just burst through their front door, yelling apologies, but tearing through the house and into the back yard. She grabbed Jake, who at the time wasn’t big on communication, and brought him safely home.
It was probably the single scariest day of our lives. I wasn’t even home. I get a little loose in the bowels just writing about it 9 years later.
I just wanted to share to underscore how important the idea of wandering kids is to parents of kids with autism. It demands constant vigilance, strict rules and routines. Enter the Big Red Safety Box.
The following section is cut and pasted directly from the NAA website:
NAA’s Big Red Safety Box includes the following resources:
1) Our Get REDy booklet containing the following educational materials and tools:
- A caregiver checklist
- A Family Wandering Emergency Plan
- A first-responder profile form
- A wandering-prevention brochure
- A sample IEP Letter
- A Student Profile Form
2) Two (2) Door/Window Alarms with batteries
3) One (1) RoadID Personalized, Engraved Shoe ID Tag*
4) Five (5) Laminated Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors and windows
5) Two (2) Safety Alert Window Clings for car or home windows
6) One (1) Red Safety Alert Wristband
As I understand it, these boxes are for sale to those who can afford them at $35. They are $8, which covers shipping, for those who can’t afford $35. In fact, they’re free if you can’t swing $8. This isn’t a paid advertisement, this is just something I became aware of and thought needed to be shared. My child used to be a wanderer. It’s changed the way we’ve done things, and the way we still do some things.
If you need one of these, get one. If you can afford $35 and don’t need one, go to the NAA site for Big Red Safety Boxes and sponsor a box. I am.