Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
My nonverbal son Matthew turns twelve in another month and is not toilet trained. Matthew still takes baths and needs me there for assistance every step of the way. While the Shower Poster was a great transition for my high functioning son Nick when he switched to taking showers from baths, Matthew is not yet ready for this step. This would most likely require me to be inside the shower with Matthew, thus a big step for both of us when the timing is right. This could be by summer when the weather is more comfortable for this task.
For awhile now Matthew has refused to sit down all the way in the bathtub. He holds onto the side of the tub with his arm in an odd position. I do not know if this is due to diaper rashes he regularly gets or some other reason unbeknownst to me. This position he insists on makes it hard to wash and rinse his hair as well as his body. The look on his face is not pleasant making me rush through these tasks at record speed.
I happened across the Child Autism Safety page of product listings at www.mypreciouskid.com. I was intriqued by the Bathtub Handle and thought this would ease the awkward position Matthew puts himself in and help with the shower transition. I made the purchase along with the Medical Release Card Kit in March of 2008.
This item is called Safe-er-Grip and is a Bathtub & Shower Handle. It is used for assistance for shower or bath and can be used on the shower wall either vertically or horizontally. I was able to get it to stick for a few seconds both ways before it fell down each time. I even tried it on the wall near the toilet with no success.
The Safe-er-Grip is white with blue latches. There is a gray grip under the handle that makes it easy to transport since this is portable and can easily be moved from one spot to another. There is a caution on the box as well as a white label on the handle warning not to use this for body weight leverage. It is intended as a balancing assist to get into and out of the tub for toddlers, children and adults.
There are two suction cups that have a rubber seal at the end. To remove the handle you release both latches. Unfortunately it is not that easy to install and keep in place. The box states to "Apply pressure to the handle while flipping the latches down." I tried this numerous times on the side of the tub to no avail. It worked when I did not apply pressure at the same time. I made sure it was far away from the middle of the tub and near the right end of the tub so not to cause accidents when Nick or I are getting out of the tub. Since it was so hard to get this installed I did not want to get into the habit of installing and removing the Safe-er-Grip for bathing Matthew.
Matthew was quite confused with the Safe-er-Grip and did not like moving his hand to hold onto this handle. Plus the fact that he would be using his body weight I figured it was not useful for the tub and tried the shower wall instead. This process was much easier but only lasted for mere seconds before falling onto the tub and knocking shampoo, conditioner and body bath supplies into the tub too. The crashing noises startled me as I had left the room already.
The box also mentions that this product "Allows the user to enter a wet and slippery tub safely and with confidence." I would not suggest a parent leave a child in the bathroom alone to utilize this product instead of using adult assistance. the flip-top levers do lock in place, but could be easy for a child to figure out and pull them up to release the device from its location.
This is a nice looking product that gets both positive and negative reviews. The price range is ten to fifteen dollars.
It looks like the best way to maintain safety for Matthew in the bathtub/shower is to purchase a Bathtub Grab Bar or Safety Rail. Since we live in Earthquake Country this type of product would be useful for the entire family.
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