Toys“R”Us: Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs
Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs
Through the magic of play, all children can experience victories, imagine new worlds and share the joy of learning. But accidents can happen and rates of accidental injury are higher among children with special needs. This includes children with physical and psychological disabilities, and is especially true for children with cognitive, emotional and social limitations.
While basic safety rules apply to all children, regardless of ability, the delivery of the message should be tailored to ensure a “differently-abled” child truly understands and internalizes how to play safely. To make sure playtime is a positive, memorable learning experience for your child, following is a list of tips to help minimize playtime risks among children with special needs:
Never Leave a Child Unsupervised:
It is especially critical that a child with special needs is properly supervised by an adult or trusted caregiver at all times.
Read Labels for Ability:
Check toy packages for age grading, but choose toys that correspond with a child’s learning level rather than merely matching a toy with his/her actual age. Toys that are misused or inappropriate for a particular child’s abilities can pose a risk of injury.
Survey the Play Area:
Designate a specific area of the home for regular playtime – one void of hazards, such as electric wires across the floor that a child could trip over, hanging cords that could cause strangulation and pools or windows that a child could fall in/through. Safety gates or other barriers can also be helpful in keeping children away from areas unfit for their age or abilities.
Establish Concrete Rules:
Before playtime begins, discuss basic guidelines about what areas are off limits (i.e. the street, the roof or the pool). Make the message clear by saying, “Never go past this line without mommy” and “Yell, HELP! if you are hurt, lost or scared.”
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