Locks giveaway a way to address safety

Any parent of a child with autism knows all too well that children can be escape artists. It’s all too […]

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Any parent of a child with autism knows all too well that children can be escape artists. It’s all too easy to open a door and disappear, sometimes with tragic results.

Children on the spectrum can be runners or they can be wanderers. A friend who ran a day care for many years said that while children who elope or run can be a challenge to bring back to safety, children who quietly wander away can put themselves in the greatest danger. An absence might not be noticed immediately. Seconds count when a child gets away from a responsible adult and no one notices.

Earlier this month a four-year-old Hopkins boy with autism left his family home and drowned in Minnehaha Creek. Sheletta Brundidge, a Twin Cities media personality, author and mother to three children on the autism spectrum, was to give away combination door locks on June 18 in Hopkins. She worked with first responders and city officials at an event to draw attention to safety and the usefulness of such locks.

Brundidge assisted with the search for the young boy. In interviews she has pointed out how children can be attracted to water.

She said, “Kids with autism are often drawn to water. People say, ‘just teach them to swim’ but when they’re nonverbal and have a hard time following simple instructions, it’s not that easy.”

One of her children got outside in bitterly cold winter weather so Brundidge knows the dangers all too well. The Cottage Grove mother has relied on such locks to keep her children safe.

If you have never seen an interior combination door lock or smart lock, look online. They’re pretty amazing. The locks use a combination. The ones I’ve seen use numerical combinations. You just set up the lock, punch in a combination of 6-15 numbers, and you’re set. The locks have a bypass key that can be used in case of an emergency.

The locks can be use for many types of situations. I think about a good friend with dementia years ago. Her family struggled to keep her safe and inside but she would let herself out and go walking. We had some frantic hunts.

The Amazon warehouse in Shakopee also deserves thanks for taking part in the giveaway.

Learn more about Sheletta and her work at ShelettaMakesMeLaugh.com

  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."

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