Bedtime can be a very real stressor for families with children who have special needs. Bed tents seem to be a viable solution, but just how safe are they?
The answer isn't quite as simple as a yes or no. When properly made with appropriate safety features in mind, bed tents can be beneficial and useful medical devices to help keep children secure and comfortable at night. But some bed tents on the market are more like toys than tools, in which case they may not be safe.
Special needs beds must be made with the needs of the individuals they seek to treat at the forefront of the mind; that is, they should have appropriate features built in to ensure that your child isn’t injured, in pain, or in distress.
Bed tents, while advantageous in some ways, are ultimately not created to meet these goals and, as a result, end up being danger-inducing wallet drainers for families looking to accomodate special needs.
What is a Bed Tent for Children with Special Needs?
A bed tent for children is specifically children with disabilities, is a usually bed that contains features (a canopy, for instance)designed to keep children safe and contained.
However, many bed tents are not designed for children with special needs in mind; that means that the features the offer, while potentially beneficial for some, are not sufficient for maintaing the safety and comfort of the child.
Bed tents may specifically be referred to as an autism bed tent or a sensory pod bed, but the benefits these devices do provide don't include true safety. A bed tent may help some children fall asleep better, but that doesn't mean it's the best choice for keeping them secure all night long.
Instead of seeking out conventional bed tents, it's wise to look for options that work to prioritize safety features that can help protect children from falls, accidental injuries, or discomfort and pain throughout the night.
Devices like the Cubby Bed are different from bed tents; they can help make sure that your child is in an environment where they feel like they are able to sleep soundly without sacrificing their wellbeing.
Choosing a bed and sleep environment that works for your child is crucial. Sleep is quite important, especially for young, developing minds.
Our sleep patterns affect just about every aspect of our physical and mental health, including mood, our ability to remember and process information, and regulating important bodily functions.
For children, sleeping the sufficient amount of hours at night is key. Consequences of sleep deprivation can vary, but in general, it can cause:
- Loss of temper or a hard time controlling emotions
- Physical health issues, like recurring headaches, a higher risk of obesity, etc.
- Decreased academic performance
- A hard time focusing
Children with special needs may be especially susceptible to emotional and mental changes as a result of sleep deprivation or may have a harder time communicating their feelings, so it’s always important to be mindful of the importance of healthy sleep.
Fortunately, safety beds for special needs, including those offered here at Cubby Beds, can give you some peace of mind by ensuring that your child is set up for success. Our specially-designed beds, unlike bed tents, are made to take some of the stress off your shoulders for you - no hassle, no drama.
Features of a Safe Bed for Special Needs Child
When looking for safety beds for special needs, there are a few key features or characteristics that you should keep in mind.
Even if your child is perfectly safe in bed, it’s normal to find your sleep affected by worry about their wellbeing throughout the night.
For both peace of mind and safety reasons, monitoring features are a must.
Here are some necessary features that can help bring both you and your child peace of mind:
- A smart bed that can connect to an app on your phone
- A camera with night vision
- A microphone
- Motion detection
- Temperature sensor to detect fever or heat within the tent
- Humidity sensor to detect accidents
- Smoke alarm alert
- Carbon monoxide alert
Modern technology makes it easier than ever to keep an eye on the tools listed above and more.
Padded Canopy and Sheets
For problems like seizures, biting, or meltdowns, a padded bed is another essential feature.
A padded bed with safety sheets will ensure that your child cannot hurt themselves on the bed.
The canopy, of course, also must be completely breathable, and a mesh canopy is a plus.
An overstimulated child cannot sleep. That’s why a safe bed for children will have features like:
- A soothing circadian light that mimics sunset and sunrise
- A speaker that provides white noise or other sound regulation
Safety sheets will zip and lock to the sidewalls of the bed in order to prevent children from burrowing into the side of the bed or getting trapped.
A safety canopy will include lock pockets that will disallow your child to open the tent and wander during the night.
Beds that aren’t designed with special needs children in mind may lack the proper support and safety features that your child needs, and they may actually present new obstacles instead of addressing pre-existing ones.
A Bed With the Right Features Can Help With...
Beds for children with special needs are specifically designed to address the challenges that individuals with special needs may experience, including those that might pose a threat to one’s safety.
Below are some common obstacles that children with special needs may face as well as a description of how devices like the Cubby Bed can help; these beds can not only be comfortable and safe spaces but also ones that help protect your child from accidental injury or other consequences.
Bed entrapment occurs when a child gets caught in a part of their bed, tangled up, or otherwise unable to move.
Bed entrapment can happen for a variety of reasons, but children with special needs may be especially prone to these sorts of situations.
Movement during sleep or during time when your child is unsupervised can be a real area of concern for many families, so the functional design of a special needs bed can be a real lifesaver.
Overstimulation and External Distractions
The Cubby Bed, a sensory pod bed, and similar devices can all create a safe, quiet, and comfortable atmosphere free of external stimuli.
For children who live with autism, freedom from noise, people, colors, or other stimulants can help promote relaxation and restful sleep.
For those who are concerned about potential injury throughout the night, a special needs bed with safety devices (like a canopy, padding, etc.) can be a great solution.
The design of a special needs bed can keep your child safely contained and away from hard surfaces like walls or floors.
Monitoring functions also help you ensure that your child is safe and sound at any time of day.
Child with Autism Waking Up at Night
Waking up from a dream can be both disorienting and scary, and this is especially true for children with autism.
Fortunately, the atmosphere our bed helps create, thanks to specially designed sensory features like meditative breathing programs, is designed to help gently calm your child both mentally and physically.
Autism elopement (when a child or individual with autism wanders or runs away from a caregiver) can be very stressful for parents of young children, especially at night when it’s hard to keep a close eye on little ones.
Fortunately, safety and monitoring features allow you to keep track of where your child is and decrease the likelihood of them wandering off.
Safety features may include lock pockets that prevent the child from opening the zipper from the inside of the tent.
Risk of Seizures
Seizures are an unfortunately common part of many chronic illnesses, and many families are all too familiar with the potential consequences.
Special needs beds, including our Cubby Bed, can help prevent an accidental fall or injury as the result of a seizure that happens at night or while your child sleeps.
Our sleep system features motion and sound sensors alongside other monitoring equipment to allow you to check in on your child.
Special needs beds often include sensory features - like a sound machine, for instance - to help create a calm and comforting atmosphere for your child.
Also, sleeping well at night and feeling well-rested will decrease the likelihood of meltdowns during the day.
Conclusion: Are Bed Tents Safe?
Bed tents may be acceptable options for those looking to have a unique sleeping experience, but they are not sufficiently safe for children with special needs.
It's important to be aware of this reality because many sellers attempt to market these devices toward families looking to accomodate special needs, including nighttime seizures, elopement, entanglement or entrapment, and more.
Instead, beds designed specifically for children with special needs, including the Cubby Bed, are a more reliable way to go.
The importance of quality sleep, especially for children with special needs, cannot be overstated.
Without a healthy amount of good quality sleep, many other aspects of our health, including our mood, our ability to communicate, and our ability to focus are all impacted. A lack of good sleep can create more obstacles for your child to overcome.
Children with special needs can sleep peacefully in rooms of their own just like any other child, and sometimes giving your child some space and independence can be great for self-esteem and building self-confidence.
Learn More About Your Options With a Cubby Bed
Cubby takes care of all the hard work for you.
With innovative and thoughtful features, including motion and sound sensors, temperature and humidity sensors, high-quality cameras, calming sensory features, and more, you can rest assured that your child will be safe and sound.
A bed with all these features may sound out-of-reach or expensive, but, here at Cubby, we are dedicated to making our smart beds available to all the families who need them.
If you reach out to us, we can set up a time to chat about options with your insurance. If your child has special needs that may put them at risk for nighttime injury or challenges, you may qualify for complete reimbursement for a Cubby Bed.
Better sleep for both you and your family may be just an email away.
We look forward to hearing from you.