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Keeping a severely learning disabled child safe at night

(20 Posts)
BakeliteBelle Fri 29-Jul-11 19:32:57

We have been informed we can't use a lock on our child's door at night despite CCTV. He is a danger to himself and can't be wandering around the house. He also attacks us and his siblings. He has chronic sleep problems which means we also can't risk him being up all night which he will be once he finds out he can get out of his room.

How do you deal with this without locks (that includes big cots, SafeSpaces and high handles as we have also been told these are not acceptable despite social services helping other families with funding for these items)?

jardy Fri 29-Jul-11 19:38:51

One of us has to sleep with our son with similar problems,he is now nearly 23!

zzzzz Fri 29-Jul-11 20:07:06

I think that this is ridiculous and that there must be a legal route to allow you to keep your son safe at night. Surely if he has limited understanding and would be a danger to himself and others reasonable restraints are only sensible. I see no difference between this and stair gates or reins etc for a young child. I think you need legal advice, and fast before something happens. Why is it OK for some families and not for others?

I feel very cross for you both, how totally awful and downright silly. [grr]

Lougle Fri 29-Jul-11 20:20:01

Well, the first question is 'what are your concerns?'.

The second question is 'what do you suggest we do?'.

The third question 'Are you willing to pay for someone to watch him, then?' wink

Practically, you can get floor sensor mats, and alarms, which would alert you to the fact he is out of bed. But that isn't a great solution, is it? sad

tibni Fri 29-Jul-11 20:26:41

When ds was younger one of us slept on the landing - thankfully he doesn't tend to wander these days.

I have friends who have www.safespaces.co.uk/ that love them.

BakeliteBelle Fri 29-Jul-11 21:13:48

jardy - Wow, that is dedication. However, I can't sleep with my son as he gets very agitated when we dare to sleep in front of him and punches us in the face. Did you have a moral issue with locks or did you just find it the only way to keep him in bed?

zzzzz - yes, I am totally pissed off. Noone can explain the difference between stairgates/safespaces/cotsand doors to my satisfaction.

Lougle - we have suggested they pay for waking nights - not forthcoming funnily enough.

tibini - I have friends who use safespaces. SS tell me they are not funding these, and anyway, a safespace would mean enclosing him in a smaller space than his room. It defies logic. How do your friends secure their children in their safespaces if they can reach the zips?

anonandlikeit Fri 29-Jul-11 21:39:59

can you ask if he were in SS residential care, how would they ensure his & other residents safety, tell them you would consider copying their model at home smile I bet it involves either locked doors or a team of waking night staff.

skintoff Fri 29-Jul-11 21:51:24

We have a keypad lock on ds's door, it was a bit of a faff getting it sorted but social worker in conjunction with the ot and fire service approved it and it was arranged and fitted by social services.

r3dh3d Fri 29-Jul-11 23:11:02

Ime it depends who you talk to in SS. We didn't discuss this with our SW on any level. We told them we had a number of issues in the house with DD1's safety and who should we talk to for advice about adaptations? (note at this point we didn't ask for money, we asked for advice, which is cheap. Plus the main thing we were asking for was advice on chewing radiators so a clear and simple no-brainer imminent risk to child's safety.) SW referred us to their OT, and we were lucky to get the head of department who was very good. She wrote a report saying we needed radiator covers ... and a giant cot; we didn't ask for it, she suggested it. It took fecking AGES to get funding agreed, so the thing turned up a year later, but it turned up. And they paid for it without any discussion at all; no contribution from us was ever mentioned though tbh we'd have been willing to pay, it's such a fundamental thing that it's worth it. And there was no discussion/complaint from SW about the locks issue. They didn't even blink.

My suspicion is that in our LA, the OT has a separate budget and so the arguments about restraint/locks when it comes to SLD cases rarely come up because the SW doesn't need to find a reason to refuse funding - it's not their funding so they don't give a toss.

Another thought - I think it helped that I wasn't talking about DD1's safety in terms of stopping her from leaving the room, or stopping her from chewing the walls or whatever. It wasn't about stopping her doing something she wanted to do. The issue was that she has to have a grobag rather than a duvet because she lacks the processing power to work out that she is unhappy because she is cold, and getting under the duvet will get her warm again. So she'd never get a night's sleep without the grobag, she'd just stay up shivering and crying. But even on a mattress on the floor she'd be unsafe in a grobag because she'd wander about at night and trip and bash her head. So the "for her own safety" thing was more about stopping her doing dangerous things by accident, rather than stopping her doing things she wants to do that happen to be dangerous.

It's absolute bolloxs, but I get the impression that's key; ie when it's something the child wants to do that Social Care gets all silly. If you physically stop a child from doing what they want, they call it restraint. If you stop them from doing what they want by sleeping across their doorway and waking up ten times a night shouting at them to stop it, well that's parenting. Utter nonsense of course, either way the child can't do what they want to, and probably they'd find the predictably locked door easier to handle than the unpredictably shouty mad sleep-deprived harried woman - but that's the logic of the parallel universe that is Social Care. hmm

Triggles Sat 30-Jul-11 08:12:41

Our OT has been generally great, however, I notice that we contacted her about 3-4 weeks ago (on advice from the paed) saying that we were existing on little to no sleep as 5yo DS2 had figured out how to open the safety gate on his bedroom door (and consequently those throughout the house) and we couldn't sleep because we were having to make sure he didn't wander free throughout the house as he wakes frequently during the night.

Our concerns were mostly:
- getting into his little brother's room (which he's already done, climbed into the cot with him without making any noise - until brother started shouting and screaming at him)
- getting into the bathrooms as he is just a bit too fascinated with water and baths (although we have relocated the plug for the tub on a high shelf, not sure if he would find it)
- getting into the kitchen as he is fascinated with the stove and turning on the buttons - he's obsessed with anything electrical and will play with plugs and cords and try to take things apart to see how it works.
-he has no sense of safety/danger whatsoever, so will quite happily play with something dangerous or try to climb over railing/bannister on stairs... hmm

Anyway, OT told us a colleague would get ahold of us that would be able to offer some suggestions and possibly some things that could help. And 3-4 weeks later nobody has contacted us. I was very clear to the OT that we were literally barely hanging on to our sanity at that point due to sleep deprivation and that we desperately needed some advice on this (which I am certain she understood as well). I can only assume, because OT is generally quite quick to get back with us when we contact her, that this colleague has dropped the ball. We've had to rack our sleep deprived brains and ended up paying out £36 each for gates that DS2 at this point cannot open - they are slightly taller with a more difficult mechanism as well as an alarm that goes off when it is opened. He's already attempted numerous times to open them, so I rather suspect it's just a matter of time. Nice to know they're so concerned that they didn't bother getting back to us.

I truly can understand why people lose the plot sometimes - this is absolutely soul-destroying trying to be calm and deal with children during the day and then be up all night as well. I already was up with DS2 frequently (and sometimes for long periods as he often wakes up at 3-4am for the day) during the night, but this is unreal. My sympathies to others dealing with night safety - it's very difficult.

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Sat 30-Jul-11 08:58:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Sat 30-Jul-11 09:01:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Marne Sat 30-Jul-11 10:40:08

Dd2 is still small enough that we can use a stair gate (so in a way she is locked in her room). If i was you i would look into getting a 'safe space' there are places which will help fund it (such as family fund and Cerebra). You need to do whats best for your family and if that involves locks then use them (its crazy that you can't keep your family safe by locking his door) sad.

BakeliteBelle Sat 30-Jul-11 11:56:56

Thanks justabout, I have PM'd you. I would really like to establish the legalities of this as I know other families have locks that the children's disability team have okayed, and we were told we were ok with a lock a few years ago. I feel we are being hammered because a senior reviewing officer has objected to us having a lock - we are too honest and admitted it at a review - and SS don't want to be seen to be condoning locks.

Marne, a safespace was suggested a while ago (as a way of dealing with his sleep issues) but I can see no advantage to a lock on the door. With a lock, he gets to use his whole room at night, as opposed to a small section of the room. Presumably unless you lock someone in a safespace, they can get out... How is that dealt with? I know people who padlock safespaces and keep a stanley knife nearby in case of fire, but I think it is safer to have a lock with a key in the door in that situation and locking someone in a safespace is no different to locking them in a room. Now a senior SW is saying they don't help with funding safespaces anymore. Or giant cots which we used to have but because we wanted DS to roam free in his room, we gave it to SS who have presumably given it to another family.

I will ask what measures they are taking with other families who have locks, safespaces and giant cots. Presumably, there will be a swat team visiting all these families urgently and setting their kids free at night to wreak havoc...

drivemecrazy63 Sat 30-Jul-11 18:03:04

everyones suggestions i would also have suggested we had a thread i remember 6 months ago with someone saying they had been told no locks which in one ways understandable if were talking NT but not in your extreme circumstances , they came up with a stable door idea (maybe not good if climber) or connecting two stairgates together one on top of the other with bolts. I suggested a screen dooor as can hear see smell ect through it but can be opened easily your side in case of fire and they can still shout and get attention through it there easy to make as we made a large one in the conservatory so we can have the double and single doors open but my indoor cats cant get out dont know how social services would feel about thet but what with cctv he would be totally safe

zzzzz Sat 30-Jul-11 19:32:30

I've been pondering the mamontous stupidity of this all day. Anyway have tried to ignore my thumb your nose at the gits stance and not sugguest doin it anyway and have coem up with an expensive but possibly workable solution.

Could you perhaps lock the other doors? What I mean is would it be ok if your other children had a yale lock kind of set up where they could open it from the inside but you need a key from the outside? Would it be okay to lock the kitchen and living room as you go to bed? Basically he would have the run of the hall way and his room but you could at least sleep???? If this is pants ignore it, but I really can't see how anyone can object to you locking your living space up to keep him safe?

zzzzz Sat 30-Jul-11 21:20:25

Sorry pressed send before reading that back blush.....I can spell honest!

r3dh3d Sat 30-Jul-11 21:47:31

That (wot zZZzZzZ said) was going to be our fall-back plan: we got every single door in the house replaced at one point (very naff doors, we would have replaced them anyway) and now every internal door in the house locks with a removable key. If it comes to it, we could lock DD1 out of eg bathroom, kitchen, etc, rather than locking her in.

It would never happen, fwiw, because she can't "do" stairs - she stands at the top and steps out onto air and is always surprised when that results in eg losing teeth - but it's still nice to know it's there. One day DD2 will be old enough to babysit DD1, but when that day comes it would be nice to know I can lock the kitchen just in case...

BakeliteBelle Sun 31-Jul-11 00:27:24

zzzzz I like the word 'mamontous'... Social services are being mamontous fuckwits.

We can't do the lock-every-other-door-but-his thing as a) it strikes me as being a really major fire risk especially as DS2 and DD are very deep sleepers and that could be at least 5 keys to find and unlock doors in the event of a fire b) to get to the toilet in the night, you would pass by DS's room and have to open and close all those doors/gates to get there. That is a lot of responsibility to put on my youngest and my occasionally drunk DD. I don't think i could sleep knowing someone might have to remember to lock all those gates every time they go to the loo.

zzzzz Sun 31-Jul-11 00:36:23

Don't Bakelite...in my defense I was trying to cook with the other hand and then WW3 broke out...but blush.

Yes the going to the loo thing had struck me too....if only you could go all star trek and swipe your thumbs on the locks and have some sort of master computer with who can or can't go through the door at that time. Oh it is all such a stupid waste of time.

Mamontous gives me visions of huge mammaries! blush

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