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Children’s Safety Beds – What Are They and Who Needs One?

A good night’s sleep is important for general well-being and health. That is true for all growing children, but especially those that are poor sleepers and have special needs. Parents also need a good night’s sleep to recharge for the additional daily challenges they always face, especially with a special needs child. Safety beds are designed for families that are sleep deprived, with children that don’t sleep well, often awake and wandering at night and frequently without a sense of danger.

The most frequent users of these beds come from the following categories: Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, developmental difficulties, Angelman Syndrome, Smith Magennis Syndrome, and the whole autism spectrum disorder. They can also be used for children with Epilepsy, Seizures as well as ADHD and others with difficulty in winding down to sleep.

Safety Beds are designed to provide a safe space that ensures the child cannot leave their bed without the awareness, or supervision, of their parents. This importantly allows parents sleep at night in the knowledge that their child is safe, thereby allowing them to recharge for the extra challenges they face, daily. It’s hard enough to do all this without being sleep deprived at the same time.

Considerations in selecting a Safety Bed:

  • Check it’s a safe height that can’t be scaled. Keep in mind that this must last, as your child grows and becomes nimbler.
  • Consider the space available in a bedroom, especially if the bedroom is being shared. Some options can be very large and institutional.
  • Is it portable. This can be important for family overnights with grandparents, respite/hospital stays or holidays. Some brands fit in a suitcase, making transportation easy.
  • Is it safe for seizures, head banging or falls? Ensure it’s got padding or a mesh exterior, thereby making it safer.
  • Does it calm or relax the child? Many beds are high sided wooden cots. While these provide a safe environment they do not calm and relax like some of the enclosed models.
  • Is it accepted by professionals as providing a safety balance over the need for a level of restraint. OT’s and nurses will often have to weigh up the need for night-time safety over the requirement for a level of personal restraint, provided by Safety beds.
  • Do you need a height adjustable function to allow you change pads or dressings?
  • Is it washable or easy to clean.

A good safety bed can provide peace of mind for parents, sleep, a more relaxed child as well as better socialisation and learning ability. It can also improve family life by reducing impacts on the whole family and facilitating mini-breaks, respite and holidays for all as a travel version provides safety and familiarity in unfamiliar surroundings. Have a look at The safety Sleeper in our Sensory section as it provides all the answers for most families.

Once you’ve checked these considerations, now would be the time to talk to one of our specialists who can help you engage with health professionals or the HSE for FREE trials or funding.

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