By Mike Kruzman /

Livingston County EMS has a new tool to help those with special needs at the scene of an incident.

With the help of a 2021 Michigan Trauma System Development grant, Livingston County EMS has purchased 130 Carter Kits sensory bags that are being placed in all 19 ambulances within its fleet. First responders often find themselves in situations where loud noises and chaos trigger fear in the people they are trying to help. These traumatic encounters can become difficult when there is a child or adult on the scene with special needs, like autism.

Carter Kits have items like a weighted blanket, noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, fidget toys, and a non-verbal cue card which can help those with special needs feel more at ease.

Education Supervisor Ryan Dennett said, in a release, that it is exciting to find a tool that focuses on these patients and assists providers in having better patient interaction. Dennett said they want to be prepared to treat all patients, including those with autism or Sensory Processing Disorders, because they believe they can do it better.

Carter Kits were developed by a Saginaw Township Police Department Detective who saw a need to help children like his own be better cared for during sensory overload. They have since been deployed to 24 different states, and Livingston County EMS’s purchase of 130 bags is the largest to date.