That’s how long I let go of his hand, and it was two seconds too long. He was gone.
Luckily, we were in a safe place, surrounded by those who knew us. He was quickly located.
This was the first time Big Brother wandered off. I never, ever, under any circumstances let go of Big Brother’s hand in public if he is not restrained in a stroller or cart. Yes, he is almost 6 years old, but like many children with cognitive impairment and autism, wandering off is a daily reality*. In the above scenario, I let go of his hand while I was trying to help another child, without even realizing it. As soon as I became aware that I had let go of his hand, it was too late. The worst part is that although he is somewhat verbal, he cannot communicate his name, point me out in a crowd or recite his address.
So when the creators of Call Me Cuffs contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying out their product, I excitedly said yes. I had been wanting to try some sort of safety wristband for a long time, but didn’t know what kind to buy.
The Call Me Cuffs are simple. They are temporary ID wrist bands for children that you can customize with your phone number and allergy or medical needs. Let me emphasize that they are great for all children, especially those times when you will be in a large crowd. I imagine they would also be a great item to have on hand for field trips, too.
All children, whether they have special needs or not, can be at risk of becoming separated from their parents in a crowd. The added layer of being unable to communicate, however, makes the Call Me Cuffs even more useful in my opinion.
So I tried the Call Me Cuffs on Big Brother. I let him choose the design in hopes that he too, would be excited about trying them out.
At first I was hesitant because I thought that Big Brother might not like wearing the bracelet as he has some major sensory issues. I was also afraid that he may spend all day picking at it in an attempt to remove it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Big Brother loved wearing the wristband and didn’t once try to remove it all day. In fact, Little Man wanted to wear one as well! So they both have tried them out and love them. Neither child tried to remove the wristband and they both thought they were pretty cool dudes while sporting their “jewelry.”
What I loved about Call Me Cuffs:
I love that these wristbands come in a variety of colors and designs, that they are customizable and they can be purchased in a package of 12 or 28. I also was very impressed with the fact that they are not easily removed and also comfortable to wear.
I’m happy to report that I was pleased with all aspects of the Call Me Cuffs and have nothing negative to report! I will be using these wristbands for Big Brother in the future as well, and I encourage you to check them out at their website:
There are many ways to help keep children safe in case of wandering off or accidental separation, and this is one easy, fun way to do it.
I received a complimentary 12 pack of Call Me Cuffs in order to review. All opinions expressed in this blog post, however, are completely my own.
*Some staggering statistics about wandering off in individuals with Autism:
“In a 2007 online poll through the National Autism Association, 92% of parents reported that their children with autism have a tendency to wander, but no formal estimates are available.”
“In 2012, the National Autism Association found that from 2009 to 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with autism subsequent to wandering, and that 23% of total wandering-related deaths occurred while the child was in the care of someone other than a parent.”
‘According to data released in April 2011 by the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) through the Kennedy Krieger Institute:
- Roughly half, or 49%, of children with a autism attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings
- More than one third of children with autism who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number’
“WHY WOULD A CHILD OR ADULT WITH AUTISM WANDER OFF?
Many reasons. Mainly, a person with autism will wander to either get to something or away from something. Like dementia, persons with autism gravitate towards items of interest. Other times, they may want to escape an environment if certain sounds or other sensory input becomes bothersome. Outdoor gatherings present an especially large problem because it is assumed that there are more eyes on the child or adult with autism. However, heavy distractions coupled with an over-stimulating setting can lead to a child or adult wandering off without notice. School settings are also an issue, especially those that have un-fenced or un-gated playgrounds. A new, unfamiliar, or unsecured environment, such as a relative’s home, may also trigger wandering, as well as episodes of distress, meltdowns, or times when a child or adult with autism has certain fears or anxiety.”