Families with special needs children often face circumstances where their children are found outside the home, sometimes several blocks, or even miles away. This puts added worry and stress on the family, and it goes without saying, places the child in a very unsafe situation.
Over the past years, we have worked with many families who have a child with autism, or special needs, where the child has become adept at getting out. Children with special needs, even as young as 3-4 years old, are not intimidated by the keyed-in lock on the door. A regular lock found on a residential perimeter door, is typically a deadbolt configuration, with a thumbturn on the inside for retracting the deadbolt. In these cases, it is very easy for the child to quickly learn how to unlock the door and begin wandering.
Families have tried to guard against this, only to find within a short time, their child has outsmarted them. Quick fixes have included mounting the locks higher on the door, but then their child will get a chair and unlock it, which in and of itself is not safe. Another remedy has been to install a locking two-sided keyed-in-deadbolt, yet the child seems to always know where the keys are hidden, so this doesn’t work either.
The best intervention is to invest in double sided keyless locks. These locks make use of a combination keypad and are offered in a deadbolt configuration (as well as knob and lever configurations, if that’s what you have now), to make for an easy retrofit of your existing lock. 100% mechanical keyless locks by Lockey Systems, are the leading brand.
“I purchased double sided keyless deadbolt locks (Lockey M210DC) and digital sliding glass door locks (Lockey 2500 series sliding door lock). The customer service I received was great. One of the locks was missing a couple of pieces. The problem was addressed to my complete satisfaction within 24 hours of contacting customer service. I am extremely happy that I purchased all of the locks. I have autistic children. The locks keep my children safely in the house. All of the locks are worth every penny they cost because of the peace of mind they bring that my children are going to remain safely in the house.”
~ Parent of autistic children
The 2210DC model is a two-way keyless lock in a deadbolt format, while the 2230DC features a knob, and the 2835DC is furnished with a lever. With no key hole, and with exiting granted only by code, these keyless locks go a long way in keeping special needs children from escaping unnoticed. Just be sure you set the code to something that is not familiar to them, such as a birthday, or other number which references something they could guess.
Don’t forget to check with your Local Authority Having Jurisdiction before installation to review their policy on putting double sided locks on your door.