It was quite humorous and most definitely an Ellie antic, but it was also rather scary.
It was a
There is the Bear sauntering down the driveway--barefoot and clad only in a pull-up and a shirt with a glittery cupcake stamped on it. She is carrying a collapsed umbrella like she is royalty.
My first thought is "what is up with the umbrella and where are her pants?"
Followed by "oh no, her feet! Oh her feet are going to be scalded!"
Finally, with the realization of "oh crud! The Bear can open the door. . . and escape". Which then led to the following:
My daughter could have been hit by a car had she wandered into the street (or the highway behind our house).
My daughter could have gotten lost.
My daughter could have ended up in a ditch due to a fall.
My daughter could have been kidnapped or victimized.
My daughter, being nonverbal, cannot communicate her name let alone her address and phone number.
The thing is, we keep our doors locked and dead bolted. I behave as though I still live in center city Philadelphia. Only instead of 3 dead bolts and a door chain, we have only one deadbolt on each door. However, because I was only getting the mail from the end of our driveway, I didn't lock the door behind me. Ellie apparently developed some wicked fine motor skills when I wasn't looking and managed to open a lever door knob.
The other thing is, we also have a medical ID band for the Bear. It is sitting in a drawer doing a whole lot of good. I got it in pink with a purple tag thinking it would entice her to wear it like the little accessorized diva that she is. We tried securing it on her ankle last summer. She tried to use her teeth to gnaw it off. She is flexible like that. So there it sits, in a drawer because I would like her teeth to remain firmly implanted in her mouth.
|Ellie is a runner. Even with eyes on her, she could quickly escape a playground or a backyard birthday party.|
Little children wandering away from home or a neighborhood party is common. It is thought to be more common among those with autism, dementia, and developmental delays. Because of cognitive and communication disabilities, it is difficult to teach a child with autism or Down syndrome not to leave the side of a parent or adult. You hear about the little kids waking up before their parents and then leaving the house. Or where the each parent assumes the other is keeping an eye on the child. Or what about the parent who briefly shifts her eyes to the sibling? Ellie's little escapade happened while I was on our property.
Now, my question is: how much to microchip a toddler?
Oh and what is up with the umbrella? And where are her pants?
All joking aside, children who are prone to wandering can end up in dangerous situations. If your child is a wanderer, be sure to notify your neighbors and local law enforcement.
Please visit AWAARE on what to do if you have a child with a disability who is prone to wandering.
AbilityPath.org When a child with special needs wanders away.
Tips from fellow mommies (most of these are for inside the house):
- Install sliding locks at the top of the doors
- Interior keyed deadbolts
- Door alarms
- Lever door handle child-proof locks
- Include your tips in the comments section
FYI: if your kid knows how to work a dead bolt, be sure to take your keys with you when you go check the mail, water plants, let the dog out, etc. because your kiddo may lock you out of the house!