Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nickel Bed Tent makes our family’s short list of special needs gear that’s actually worth buying



If you’re anti behavior blocking and die hard teaching the behavior you want to see instead…



then you’ll probably wanna stop reading this post.  Right about now.






Just click away from the page.



Because I’m about to drive you bonkers!  And if you keep reading, and then feel compelled to correct educate me in the comments section…you’ll drive ME bonkers!  That’s my fair warning that this entire post will be singing the “block the behavior” praises of my newest special needs mommy gear love – The Nickel Bed Tent!



Hear my pom poms flapping?!  I just LOVE this thing!




See, after our last Topomax decrease, it was like Trevy stepped out of the fog.  With each decrease prior, we’d seen speech growth.  But suddenly he was discovering and trying (way too many) new things!



Life with Trevy is a unique balance and when the balance tips everything goes to pot until we regain our footing.



A couple of the most…um…classic tricks he learned include…



flushing random junk down the toilet.  The bigger the better.  And that’s totally not sarcasm.  The bigger the object the less likely it’ll actually make it down our pipes!  We only have one bathroom, people.  You’d better believe I’m blockin’ that behavior!  Thank God I still had some door safety thingamabobs in the closet.



Then he figured out how to unlock the front gate.  It took some imagination on our part to out smart him on that one.  I’ll have to write a post about that soon too.  I thought it might be time to trade in the pooch for a real service dog upgrade!



And suddenly he was Houdini at night.  The baby gate that had held him captive in his bed for the last two years lost it’s magic power overnight.  Once he learned how to climb over the gate…he literally could not relax in his bed.  It was a HUGE battle.  And while I’m actually a fan of teaching appropriate behavior…I’m also a fan of SLEEP!  I’m a much better behavior teacher when I’m well rested.  I couldn’t sleep (not a wink) knowing that Trevor could and would climb out of his bed in the middle of the night.  And he couldn’t sleep (for long) knowing that there was so much to explore.  It really doesn’t take a wild imagination to visualize all sorts of havoc Trevy on the loose in the middle of the night could wreak! 



It was all about blocking that behavior, baby!



Which is why we finally bought a special bed. 






I’ve had my eye on the Nickel Bed Tent for the last year and a half. 


We hesitated because the gate was working and also…I just wasn’t sure.  I mean, it looked cute in the pictures and all.  But would it be too small?  Could he figure out how to unzip himself?  I bet it’s stifling inside there?



I had lots of wasi wasi, as we say in Swahili.



Trevy learning how to climb outta his bed disrupted our balance in a big way.  And it was time to set aside the questions and just buy the thing!




I love how cute the colors are.  Very boyish.  They also have a girl’s color palette as well.


It fits a twin sized bed.  He was on a crib mattress before, which means it’s much easier to climb into bed and read stories with him now!  He loooooves reading books with mommy!  Especially in bed.  There’s just something about being all snugged up in bed with a book.




It is totally NOT stifling! 


There are three zippered screen openings.  One on each side and one on an end.  Plus a non-zippered screen on the back side and across the top.  Lots of airflow.




To prevent clever little adventure seekers from escaping, you can use book rings on the zippers.  We learned quickly to clip the small inner circles (see picture below for example) together rather than the big outer ones.  When we clipped the big circles, Trevy was able to separate the two zippers enough to then pull the zippers into the tent.  He even figured out how to open the book ring! 




Trevy immediately loved the tent!  Honestly, so did his sister.  She’s begging us to buy her one too!


Because he loved it, I didn’t really need to try and cozy it up.  But I wanted to anyway.  We bought new dinosaur sheets from Target.  His favorite book right now is Sammy and the Dinosaurs and we needed twin sheets for him anyways.  I put some favorite books at the end and a few safe soft toys to play with.  Although Trevy being the funny guy he is, will often evict toys for no reason at all.  He’s currently holding a grudge against sock monkey and kicks him out whenever he finds him in there! 




Trevy is a social creature.  A monkey, by nature.  So he doesn’t spend lots of time alone in his bed.  But if one of his family members wants to snuggle up with the iPad or books to read…he’ll stay there for a good 15 minutes without getting bored!




We haven’t purchased many adaptive things.  Mostly, because I’m a cynic.  I think people create stuff and then label it special needs so they can jack the price!  The Nickel Bed Tent (btw…they have no idea I’m writing this review!) is on our short list of things we recommend other SN families consider purchasing.  At just $159.99, it’s affordable AND everybody’s sleeping at night again!




Most importantly, Trevy gives his big boy bed two thumbs up too!





  1. I would have LOVED one of those say...9 years ago! Very cool for little ones that wander. Now if I could figure out how to keep my almost 13 year old from wandering so WE can sleep.

  2. I have a neighbor who has an older SN daughter. They made her bedroom door one of those half door thingies and completely safety proofed her room. That way when she wakes up and explores they know she's safe! Of course, Trevor being the climber he is...I'm not sure that would work for us. But maybe a thought for you guys?

    And're my hero tonight for not criticizing my behavior blocking ways! :)


  3. BAh....I have learned over the last 12.5 years to never criticize another parent (especially one with special needs kids) or I WILL one day eat my own words. I used to work with kids with autism years ago before I became a mom, and every thought or word spoken of criticism I have gotten back 10 fold! hahaha! So hear that any potential criticizers!!

    I have thought about the half door but he's so tall I think he would try to climb it and spill out head first. Last week I ordered a motion detector light for the hallway plus an actual motion detector alarm. I have been finding that I'm not waking up as easily as I used to. (exhaustion?) I hate to do it as I do not want to wake my daughter BUT you do what you have to to keep your child safe right?

  4. It's SO true! My oldest is 11...and even though he's neuro typical, he has always been a tough cookie to parent!

    That was my thought with the half door too. I'm always thinking WAY too far down the road. Maybe Trevor will learn safe night behavior? IDK. But I did think, it we ever halved the door, I might add an additional screen door to the top half. Just the top half though. And still add the solid top too. But something just to deter him. Right now he doesn't get too aggressive when he's curious. It's mostly just curiosity. But then he did just lean all his weight into the kitchen gate...guess those eggs smelled GOOD! Soooooo...



  5. That bed is cool. My daughter (11) was recently diagnosed as an Aspie, and loves to be 'cocooned' She would LOVE that tent for her bed. Where did you get it?

  6. Here's the link. You'll have to copy & paste it though...because I have NO clue how to hyperlink it into the comments. :)

    My little guy likes the snug feeling too. It's really cute!


  7. For another layer of parent piece of mind, radio shack sells a door alarm that chimes when the door opens. Great to alert you to evening wanderers. And we have a baby monitor in the hallway, just in case. K

  8. Great ideas too!

    Our monitor just bit the dust too. Ugh.


  9. the bed looks nice but it doesn't last long at all. The mesh material tears apart very easily and the aluminum polls break very easily as well. The company that sells these beds does not have the replacement parts so you basically have to buy a whole new bed if anything breaks, you get what you pay for I guess

    1. I'm so sorry you had a negative experience with the bed tent. I would suggest reaching out to the company. I'm sure they welcome any feedback that would help them enhance their product! Like adding replacement parts. That's a HUGE need! We've had ours for over a year now and are still really happy with it. I'm sure it's a case-by-case basis. Or maybe improvements were made prior to our purchase? At any rate, we're still in love with it!