How to make your difficult child's room 'SAFE'


New Member
I wrote this to help some other moms who are on my listserv and thought I would pass it on to ya'll here. This is what we did to J's room to make it 'safe'. In some ways, it resembles the "Riley" but it's not intended to be used in that way. It's intention is for having their bedroom and your home safe for a child who is suicidal/homicidal and during rages. Believe me, this in no way covers EVERYTHING we is very hard to put into words the extremes we went to in order to keep J safe when he was home and in crisis mode 24/7. We literally turned our home into a fortress and when he comes home on pass, we go around and arm all the alarms and motion sensors again. This is a GENERALIZED version.

Tips for Making a Room Safe


All pictures removed.
All nails, tacks and staples removed.
Any €œdecorations€ consist of posters hung with tape.


All curtain rods/fixtures removed.
Any blinds/fixtures removed.
All screws from said fixtures removed.
Make sure any nails from trim are flush.
Buy a curtain panel, Velcro squares and matching thread. Line the squares up along the trim, stick on the curtain panel and then sew on. If your child goes into a rage and tears the curtain down, it can be easily hung up with no damage to you or your child.
Buy a window alarm (key kind), can be purchased at Radio Shack for approximately $20.00. (Also use this same alarm on your front and back doors.)


All clothes get hung on plastic hangers.
All toys get removed and put into a plastic tub (preferably one on wheels so it can be easily removed from the room during a rage).

FURNITURE (put padding around sharp corners to prevent injury)

Bed (preferably one with rounded edges or if not possible then put rubber padding around sharp corners).
Desk (empty all supplies needed for homework are asked for and then returned upon completion).


Smoke detector (approx. cost $20 – 30, a must have if you have a fire-starter or a child who has a fascination with fire. Put one in the child’s bedroom!).
Motion sensor (extremely beneficial throughout the home if you have a night wanderer, each one will make a different noise depending on what you set it to).
Baby monitor (hung in the corner of the room at the ceiling to hear what is going on if they are in their room for a “time-out”).
Bedroom door cut off ¾ if they go into a rage and you need someplace safe to put them. Stay with them to make sure they are safe!!
All sharp things locked up in the kitchen area including but not limited to knives, scissors, or anything else sharp that can be used as a weapon.


12 yo difficult child son Enuresis, Encopresis, Language Learning Disability (LD), Math Learning Disability (LD), Articulation Disorder, Hypothyroidism, mild MR, CP, ADHD, CD, PTSD, Bipolar not otherwise specified with psychotic features, Anxiety Disorder not otherwise specified, Fine and Gross motor delays-in residential.

9 yo easy child son Learning Disability (LD), ADD.

People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did, but
People will never forget how you made them feel


Active Member
Thanks Peanut.

One question, what can you do to the door so difficult child is not able to kick and break the door frame?



7 y/o boy Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD

easy child girl age 9

easy child boy age 5

husband and best friend of 19 years

Mine was a rager. One thing I did was put a sheet of plexiglass over the windows so she couldn't break them from the inside. The only things in her room were soft toys that could be safely thrown but caused no damage. The hard toys were in the spare bedroom where she had access when she requested but were locked up during rages.

Single mom to 13 year old girl (adopted at 4-1/2). Severe ODD, moderate CD, mild Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), faulty reasoning, severely passive-aggressive.

What a wonderful post. I might add that if the child was into rages to take the shoes before letting him alone. A friend does not allow belts at all.


New Member
Well like I said, this was very GENERALIZED.

We took all of J's belts out of his room. As soon as he came in the house, he took his shoes off as shoe laces could be used to choke himself and the same with belts.

The plexiglass in front of the glass is a good idea, I will add that to my copy of the original article and let it up to the parents who are implementing it. The only problem with this is if there would be a fire (God forbid), it takes away an emergency exit. I teach my boys that their windows are an exit that can be used (we live in a mobile home) in case of a fire. I'm kinda torn on this one if the room is totally safe with nothing that can be used as a projectile the need for this. Granted, J has stuck his fist thru a window during a rage. We went to the expense of putting a special window in his room that supposedly is shatter proof, so far so good as he has tried to break it on more then one occassion.

As to the door frame, the only thing I can suggest and we did (we have since taken it down) is to put padding around the door frame or to totally take the door frame off and take all the nails out and hang a sheet in place of the door.

Mine is a door kicker. When put into time out he would kick the door, as you know these are hollow, and easily broken, we tried sheet method, but that wouldn't contain a raging child (our doesn't "rage") try covering inside of door with plexiglass, or putting up a solid door.

also, the bed is removed, it is just a matress and a box spring on the floor. with a nice bedskirt it looks fine.


Active Member
Hmmm . . . about the door frame problem.

difficult child has tremendous anxiety, does not like our cats, (who I've had twice as long as him), and is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) about his room. We need a real door because he would go totally nuts if a cat walked in his room.

I don't understand about the padding around the door frame. Can you do it and still close the door? How do you attach it to the wall so he couldn't pull it down? What type of padding did you use?

Anyone else have a suggestion?

Thank you.



7 y/o boy Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD

easy child girl age 9

easy child boy age 5

husband and best friend of 19 years

I felt so much better after I read this. I thought that I was just paranoid but I know that this kind of proactive behavior on my part, eliminates the major problems, during violent tantrums. Thanks!!

Remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that you could be that light for someone else.

That is great Tammi! Want to interject something for thought..about having a bed on floor (no frame). When CYS was in picture and came out, that's what we had done. According to them it can NOT be like that (even though floor was carpeted). We had to have at least a frame and box spring (no headboard). That's the law in PA and when the worker came they saw WHY we did that, difficult child was jumping around unsafely on bed. Worker was kind enough to let it go but warned us to "fix" it. We have.

What a great post!

& Reptar (still stomping only a little more quietly)
"Normal is for those who can't deal with Reality - the truth is Reality is ALL things , All people!" LC

33 yo married 9 y mom
37 yo married husband -ADHD/ODD/Depression & Aniexty, Post laryngectomy (voice box removal), cancer survior
8 1/2 yo F difficult child - ADHD, ODD, Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), Bipolar, Gifted
Battle won with school with out due process!

Dexedrine SR AM
Clonidine bed

3yo F easy child (perfect child/terrible 3)Severe Bilateral clubfoot, Arthrogryposis, Congenital Knee Dislocation
20 month olds M easy child - bouncing baby boy trooper- Mr Mountain Goat!
Many reptiles, cat and 2 dogs.

Great post Peanut

Definitely should be archived.

Elise -- use a baby-gate to keep the cats out.


48 y.o. mother from Connecticut
13 y.o. difficult child boy adopted at 6 y.o (Risperdal, Depakote and Buspar for bipolar, ODD, attachment disorder, PTSD, some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) traits, some borderline personality traits. )
11 y.o. younger brother adopted at 4 (mostly easy child, but acts like difficult child-wannabe, possibly due to being 11, possibly due to living too close to difficult child his whole life).
Married to husband for 27 years. He is the primary care-giver for the kids, and a creative artist at keeping it all together.
I work at a residential treatment facility for kids.

As they say on the airlines when you fly: Adults must put on their OWN oxygen masks BEFORE assisting their children with theirs.