Impulsive Behaviors and Danger for Kids with ADD
Wheeled vehicles, either motorized or kid powered, can be hazardous to your impulsive child’s health. Any child might impulsively chase a ball into the street, but a child with ADD could just dart out into traffic because he saw something fascinating down the block. You may have absolutely no clue that he was considering running across the middle of the street. In 2008, about four times more pedestrian deaths of children under the age of 13 occurred away from intersections than at intersections.
Children love to play around cars, but this is a definite no-no. Keep your cars locked, so that kids can’t get inside to play. Yes, cars are outfitted with safety mechanisms to keep them from rolling. Your child came equipped with energy, creativity, and a huge amount of persistence for those activities that he finds fascinating. It is not beyond the child with ADD to make a car roll down a driveway. Also, never, ever leave your child in a running car, not even for a minute. Our neighbors found this out when their three-year-old bundle of energy unbuckled his seatbelt and backed the mini-van down the driveway. He ran into the mailbox across the street, but it could have been so much worse! Also, don’t let children play around vehicles, although they love to sit on them, jump on bumpers, and hide behind the car. Be cautious. A car is a heavy piece of machinery, and in the battle between a car and a kid, the kid is always the loser.
All terrain vehicles (ATV) can easily weigh over 800 pounds and be unstable on uneven ground. They should not be used by children under 16-years-old. Any child who uses an ATV should have a training course in how to do so. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the death rate from ATV accidents for children under 14 more than tripled from 1994 to 2004. The injury rate for this age group more than doubled during this same time frame. Since that time, both of those numbers have started to drop, but they are still above the 1994 rates.
Your child with ADD needs to have good exercise to help burn off some energy. Bicycles and skateboards are highly prized by children. They need to be taught how to use these vehicles in a safe manner. Some groups have clinics where children are provided a good place for supervised practice. They can learn safety information and tips on using their vehicle of choice. Kids will also be provided with information about the latest safety equipment that’s appropriate for their level of use of the bike or skateboard.
Throughout the year there are always news stories about kids who find a gun. Sometimes, they decide to play a game with it. Other times, they point the gun and shoot, only to discover that there is real ammunition in the gun. Some kids are just showing the gun, and suddenly somebody they know is bleeding or dead.
What can a person do to reduce accidents that are associated with impulsivity? With children, it helps to limit their exposure to situations that may be dangerous to the child. Keep young children away from traffic. If they are near a street, supervise them closely. Keep them within reaching distance. Small children, especially those who are extremely impulsive, can dart quickly into danger.
Don’t let them play around cars or motorized vehicles. Keep them off of ATVs, no matter how much fun it looks like and how hard that they beg. Provide designated areas for your child to use for bike riding and skateboarding. Do not allow them to use their wheels in areas that are dangerous. Also, make a well-fitted safety helmet mandatory. Other safety equipment is important, but a helmet can save a child’s life, mobility or cognitive functioning.
Where guns are concerned, first, consider not having a gun in the house. If you do have one, keep it locked up. The ammunition should be in a separate area. Let kids know that a real gun is heavier than a play gun. They should leave real guns strictly alone. If somebody has a real gun, then leave the area. Report the gun to a responsible adult.
Teaching kids with Attention Deficit Disorder important safety rules and having them use good safety equipment can reduce accidents. Rehearsing what they should do in various situations is also important. However, setting up the conditions for safety is crucial in limiting those times when a kid can act impulsively and put himself in serious danger.
If using an ATV is a part of your family’s lifestyle, here is a resource to help you keep your children safe.
Children who will be around guns need training to stay safe. Here is what parents can do.
NRA Safety Information for Parents
This book is a great resource for raising a confident child who happens to have Attention Deficit Disorder. This is a ground-breaking book that asks parents to look at their children with loving acceptance. I highly recommend it. A link is provided below for your convenience.
Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child
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