Nothing is more terrifying than losing your child. It can happen to anyone. You take your eyes off them for one second and, poof, they’re gone–lost in the crowd. Now imagine that you have an autistic child with a propensity to wander. And, when they are lost, they are unable to communicate or ask for help.
Thankfully, there is a way to protect your autistic child if they become lost and increase their chances of a safe return. This protection comes in the form of a bunch of square blacks dots printed on a white background–a barcode of sorts, referred to as a QR Code.
The QR or “Quick Response” Code has many uses, but one of its altruistic applications is guarding autistic children against the dangers associated with elopement. While children who do not suffer from autism do wander away from mom or dad from time-to-time, for many autistic children, this can be a frequent behavior.
Autistic children often run in response to sensory overload or an anxiety-causing situation. Some become fixated on an object and take off after it. And others become focused on reaching a specific destination. In fact, autistic children are four times more likely to flee a safe environment than their non-autistic counterparts.
Another significant risk factor is that one third of these wanderers are unable to communicate their name or contact information–hampering a rescuer’s ability to return them home safely. Couple this with the dangers posed by traffic, swimming pools, and miscreant strangers, and autistic “runners” can find themselves in great jeopardy. One sobering statistic released by the National Autism Association states that between the years 2009 and 2011, 91% of all U.S. deaths among autistic children who wandered were caused by drowning.
Clearly, we need a way to protect these precious children from harm and ensure their safe return to the families that love them.
Enter the QR Code ID. While it is impossible to avert every tragedy, this device will greatly improve the odds of having your autistic child delivered back safely to your door.
The QR Code can be printed onto shirts, buttons, or waterproof stickers–ensuring that your child’s unique ID number is easy to see. This code can be scanned by using a smartphone, or the barcode number can be entered into a website. The rescuer will, then, have access to your child’s contact information, medical instructions, a caregiver or therapist’s number, and any other pertinent details. Parents can also enter real-time information such as their whereabouts or an ideal meeting place.
The fact that QR Codes can be incorporated into your child’s clothing is especially helpful for children with sensory issues that would prevent them from wearing a traditional ID bracelet.
QR Code ID’s are also helpful for people Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or other disorders that put them at risk of becoming lost or disoriented.
If you wish to assign one of your nearest and dearest with a QR Code ID, you must first become a member by visiting qrcodeid.org or phoning 661-52HOPE2.
This organization also offers a clothing line of t-shirts, hoodies, and more that have been designed by artists with special needs. They also sell iron-on codes patches, Velcro codes, code pins and other products to meet your loved one’s requirements.
Child ID code stickers are available through the National Autism Association as well and come in packs of 10.
The QR Code identification program is a great way to give overtaxed parents piece of mind and protect some of society’s most vulnerable people. So get started. You’ll be glad you did.
In what ways has the QR Code ID program improved your quality of life?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger.