Locking bedrooms for people with behavioural problems

Safelincs has worked in conjunction with a local authority and the fire service to solve an issue that arose with a child suffering from severe emotional and behavioural problems.

The child resides with a foster family and everything in his bedroom has to be padded and any sharp objects are removed to prevent him from harming himself. The same degree of prevention could not be carried out in the rest of the house which meant that the child needed to be confined to his bedroom at night.

The concern with locking a child or a person with behavioural problems in their bedroom is that if a fire should break out the person would be trapped and unable to escape.

The solution was to fit a magnetic lock outside the child’s door. The strong electromagnet keeps the door closed but if a smoke alarm anywhere in the house is triggered the electricity fails and the magnet loses power, releasing the door which can then be opened. There is a switch next to the bedroom door for opening of the door as well as an override in the kitchen, so that the lock can be released manually at any point in time and from different parts of the building.

The bespoke solution was put together by Safelincs utilising existing products. The foster parents are now able to sleep in the knowledge the child cannot come to harm in his own room.

“We worked closely with the fire service and the Children’s Services at the local authority,” explained Stuart Baxter. “Our solution could easily be replicated for people in similar circumstances.”