Summer Safety

By Melissa Lake – Contributor

Safety is important for all of us, including differently-abled people.  The following paragraphs will inform you of what I face with my son, Logan, and hopefully help you understand some of the more common issues that arise with autistic children during the summer months.


You may hear many times throughout the year about an autistic did a certain water-related task.  Water is a communication that Logan enjoys on a sensory level. It splashes, it’s cold, it’s hot, it rolls down a faucet and into his little hands and communicates an either a hot or cold reaction.  It can be calming, it can be exciting.  Before you say my child would never stick his hand in the toilet, my son, after learning to walk, was found sitting in the toilet flushing it repeatedly.  It got a reaction of shock, squeal, and then “lets get out of the toilet, into the bathtub.”  So, unfortunately, I was stuck in a moment of giving into his needs, and finding that he enjoyed doing that many times after, because he would get a bath.  But more importantly, I would really want to direct your attention to drowning.  This can happen many places:  in the tub, in a pond after doing something such as chasing a balloon,  in kiddy pools, normal home pools, and even worse, the city pool.  Yes, that’s right. Even if there is a lifeguard does not mean he or she understands you or will even remember what you said about your child’s autism.  It is imperative to make sure the lifeguard is aware of the situation in case you have to step away for a moment.  Logan had a near-drowning experience in a pool two summers ago, but luckily his dad was able to quickly get him out of the water.  Now he only likes hot tubs and above ground pools since he can stand up in them.


A safety person is always with Logan, but in times of emergency, a safety spot is our tree all the way by the road.  If there is a fire, or natural disaster, someone must always be in charge of the situation. Stay Calm, and get your plan of action to get all out of the home immediately.


Medical Alert bracelets have yet to impress me.  However, I am looking to some way, somehow, find one that works perfectly for Logan. He does not wear what he does not want to.  I do not allow my son to go beyond the eyesight of myself.  Our home has a security system, yet I still hang bells for alertness.  All windows are screwed shut as he has attempted running several times, and succeeded to get to his sister’s in-laws home.  Again and again he has found ways, and I just keep finding ways to bypass his escapes.  I believe the whole country mile knows Logan, as most of them have brought him home, called the police, just to be told that the parents will be there before they get there (and they are usually right).

I am usually so close to him, I often wonder if I will always have this on-guard feeling in my oath of Logan’s Parenting, and if I am hurting others by protecting him from unknown but usually later discovered danger. I know this for sure:  my two other sons and daughter re-assure me that he is a high-maintenance brother but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Although  I want him to have his freedoms, this weighs heavy on my mind.


I keep Logan’s medicine in a ziplock bag, with a schedule of his doses, and reminders of his extra needs.  When all other family members get sick, they get their own ziplocks with their names and extra info. It is important to do this for myself, because I am not super woman. I do need assistance from my daughter and husband.  If something should happen that I was unable to care for him, all of his information is together on paper:  Dose time, amounts, behaviors, doctor’s #, poison control, etc.


Obviously I cannot tell you everything that will work for your child, but this is what works for Logan, I have found several websites that you can go to and find more information to answer your questions.

I encourage all parents of the differently-abled to learn to use the Google search engine, as it has a variety of resources and continues to update daily.  I also encourage you to have a plan for your child or adult with autism, differently-abled, and young children. Educate yourself; autism is not a cookie-cutter situation.  Every child is different in many ways.  My favorite saying is: “If you know a child with Autism, you know one child with Autism.”  And lets not forget “The only predictable thing about Logan is that he is unpredictable.”

Good websites if you’re interested in learning more information:





4 thoughts on “Summer Safety

  1. You bring up many important safety issues that some may forget about in daily life. I love the idea of ziploc bags for everyone’s medication. Great advice about the lifeguard!

    For those with a pool, get a safety cover. We installed ours today because my little girl has no fear walking down the steps in the backyard and I would like for her to be able to go in and out as she pleases. My heart does not jump as much when she gets within 3 feet of the pool now (it jumps at around 1 foot). However, even with a safety cover she can still get hurt if she falls, so vigilance is still required. Another safety concern is wading pools. We empty ours out into our planters after she is done playing in it. The are so many dangers in the backyard when it comes to little people like poisonous plants, misplaced gardening tools (that little hands always seem to find for you), sharp sticks, etc.

    Great article!

  2. I agree a lot was left blank, I could have written a more detailed Novel per say, but best to teach to fish….

    It is always good to share like the points somebody else may never think of. So thank you for your insight, the gardening tools have been my peave for years, my yard is a mess of danger, and have been learning new tricks daily.

    Today I was making lunch, Sponge Bob Macaroni, I had the water boiling, then a knock at the door, I left the hot water, turned off the gas, and went to talk to the visitor, Logan put all the pasta and cheese in there. coulda been a disaster, thank his lucky stars.

  3. Melissa, Thanks so much for the riveting bit of info. It’s so very important to remind people about safety with their kids, differently abled or not. So many people think “I can step away for a second” and not think about how much a devious little mind can figure out in a second (or less).

    Regarding pools, I’ve put Vincent into swimming lessons every summer since he was 4, a couple times repeating the same level to assure he picked up the knowledge. I think swim lessons are fantastic for any kid, no matter if they swim well or not. It teaches them so much about water safety! And yes, I agree that lifeguards are definitely not to be counted on, as there are so many people in a public pool, the guard cannot possibly watch everyone at once.

    I am really doing to snatch your idea of the ziplock bag for meds. That would definitely make life easier in my house, mostly for me because of my pain and allergy pills I have to take constantly. I’m almost starting to feel like a walking pharmacy. But really, it is handy in case someone else besides me has to take over, everything in one spot will help an emergency person to figure out faster what is going on with me.

    Vincent only does meds during school, a “time-release fast acting” pill that runs its course by end of school day. I discovered a couple years back that he really likes yoga. We do a different yoga program off the exercise channel every morning and every night when he’s with me. It keeps him calm the better part of the day, and helps him sleep deeply at night. If I forget it in the evening, he’s up the next day at 5 a.m.! But as long as I remember, he sleeps till 8 a.m.

    Thanks again for all your insights, it’s so helpful to find another parents’ point of view, especially with such wonderful messes of children like ours! Keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks Connie, the ziplock is absolutely one of the best ideas I have seen and I learned it from my daughters friend a few years back, whenever I would watch her baby, she always had several meds she needed to take, earaches all the time. This girl was 16 and had her bag together for the daycare or wherever, it really helped her. I just upped it and put a list of medications to be taken, actions to take if behaviour hightened etc. but it is also helpful in the wee hours of the night to be able to figure out who needs what.

    Apparantly, I forgot to mention I am always learning, but the sharp tools, paint etc. Yeah, Logan decided to pour a can of paint into the pool, probably found a screw driver to open it… Only a few days after this was posted.

    Oh and did not mention that Logan ate that mac n cheese with such a proud face, he is working in the kitchen with me to butter toast, make sandwhiches and learning to serve his own plate. This is a summer task we are leaning to, as he is 10 and wants to be able to do the things Ted does, we still have not got to the stove, but in time. Hand over Hand is the best way to work with him, and then let him do what he can till he needs help again.

    Thanks again Connie and Jaunita
    Hugs Melissa

Comments are closed.