Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Summer Safety Tips


As summer is approaching and school is ending, everyone is excited to get out and have summer fun. Here at OneWell we wanted to provide some tips that will keep you and your loved ones happy, but also safe!

1. Teach your loved one any important information they need to know like: Their first and last name

2. Be sure they have their home address memorized as well as important phone numbers for if they ever find themselves separated from you or their caretaker

3. Be sure that your loved one understands how to safely cross the street. During the summer many people do not pay as much attention when they are out having a good time. Be sure that they understand how important it is to stop before going to cross, only walk on the cross walk, and to look both ways at least 3 times to be sure that there are no cars coming as they cross safely.

4. In case that you both get separated you want to be sure that your loved one will be calm and understand what to do when they cannot find you. A good way to do this is by playing hide and seek with them to practice calmly searching for you and others without getting distraught.

5. Depending on who is available either a friend, sibling or a hired caretaker try your best to implement the buddy system. Teach them to stick with a certain person so that they do not run off without warning or get lost.

6. With the large number of swimming opportunities that are available during the summer, we want to ensure that at least the basics of water safety are taught to your loved one with IDD. Accidents occurring around water are twice as likely to happen with people who are diagnosed with IDD. A few methods that would be useful for extra safety are things such as:

  • Swim Floats
  • Find an instructor with experience with teaching people with disabilities
  • Use swimming aids to help like goggles, ear plugs or swim caps these can help to keep them more comfortable and secure while being in an area that is loud and has a lot of stimulation going on
  • create routines before going to water events that could be overstimulating and lead to an accident

Beat the Heat!

Depending on where you live the temperature can get extremely hot and we want to show some methods that will help you and your loved one to prevent heat exhaustion and also the signs to look for.

First the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke are:

  • Headache and dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Red clammy skin
  • No longer sweating even though it is still hot
  • Seizures
  • Still feeling unwell when in a cool area and drinking water for longer than 30 minutes
  • Loss of consciousness or extreme exhaustion

If there are signs of these symptoms you should immediately get out of the sun to a cool area. While cooling down drink or assist drinking small sips at a time to prevent throwing up. If available take a cold wash cloth to the forehead to help bring the temperature down. During the day the hottest time is between 10 am and 4 pm, if possible, try to have a spot that is available to cool off to help prevent overheating. To be safe, even if it seems like everything is okay, 911 should be contacted to provide additional support.

To beat the heat there are many ways to stay cool and still be able to have fun. Read below to learn how to have fun and stay cool with your loved one.

  1. Wear lightweight, breathable and light colored clothing to keep air flowing and comfortable
  2. Keep hydrated, try to always have a water bottle ready or know where things like water fountains are located and keep drinking often even when you or they do not feel thirsty
  3. Depending on the activity, if possible, pack snacks especially frozen ones that can aid to hydrate and cool down
  4. Even when inside the heat can still be a bother, using blackout curtains will help to keep the room cool
  5. Keep fans going inside the house to keep the airflow going
  6. Try to have safe water activities prepared like:
    • Sprinklers
    • Splash Pads or Slip and Slides
    • Water Sensory table
    • Water Sprayers
  7. Find safe indoor activities

OneWell hopes that everyone will have a fun and safe summer!

Click here to view articles used: TheArc Center for Autism

Author

Ashlyn Pieri

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