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Bedroom Security

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 14 years and one day ago. Viewed 2,722 times. #2
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(19 May 2010)

(Sent to autsupott, the Autism Support email list for Ottawa)

Tonight our ASD six year old finally mastered the plastic door "apples" that we have been using as a child-lock on his door handle. So this means that we now need another idea for keeping him in his room, mostly overnight, but also during time-out intervals when he is being difficult and unhappy.

...oh and to protect the other doors he isn't permitted through.

Even if he couldn't dismantle a child gate (which he can), he could easilly kick one down if he was so inclined (which he is when he's being unhappy).

Before we resort to a sliding door latch or equivalent, has anyone in the group had any experience in this, good or bad? I'd ideally like something that can be unlocked from the inside, should an adult get trapped inside… and I don't want to drill big holes in the door for deadbolts, since they are overkill for other reasons.

I figure if we can come up with a solution that will just teach him that the door doesn't open when we don't want it to, he'll leave it alone for the most part -- that's part of the reason why the apples worked so long.

I'm sort of resigned to having to sit up there until he goes to sleep, ordering him back into his room every time he sticks his nose out. Problem is, that turns it into an attention-seeking game and totally defeats the purpose of confining him.

(I'm actually suprised that the door apples lasted this long -- his younger brother had them figured at 2 1/2.)

Thanks for any ideas anyone has.


After doing a bit of research, I can find no supporting evidence that confining a child for reasonable periods is specifically illegal. Usually in discussions like this you can find someone who can quote actual statute or case law (for any legal system, not just Ontario Canada), and in the absence of that, I conclude that it is legal at this time.

Not to say that unreasonable confinement (ie locking the child in a room and then going out to a party; not providing suitable ventilation, bathroom breaks, etc) is acceptable. The legal system will look at individual cases and make a determination if it constitutes child abuse.

It is a risk in terms of preventing a rapid exit from a home in an emergency situation. Best practices include making sure all caregivers can rapidly unlock any door and are explicitly told to brief any rescue personel as to the nature and location of any lock.

Specifically in our case, I like the reverse-privacy-knob idea the best, in that it is simple, doesn't damage the door or the frame, and can usually be "picked" from the inside by an adult with an appropriate tool. In an emergency situation the knob/frame is essentially unchanged and can be physically forced by rescue personnel.

In the long run, building a framework with my child such that he will self-regulate and such confinements will no longer be necessary is the goal, one we are already working towards but we are not there yet.

This isn't an ideal solution, but it isn't an ideal problem either. Right now I can't trust my child unattended in the house, and frankly my wife and I have to sleep sometime. This to my mind balances the risks involved.

Thanks all for the discussion.

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