Bringing home your first child can seem overwhelming when you’re a parent with a disability. Today, parents like us have more opportunities than ever before to make our homes convenient for child care tasks. First, you’ll need to do some planning before your baby comes home.
Making Child Care Tasks More Accessible
Start by taking a tour of your home exactly as you will navigate it with your child. That can mean using a baby carrier or sling, stroller, or other devices to help you move around together. Research what modificationswill benefit you the most.
Figure out which areas of your home are the most difficult to negotiate or cause concern when you’re holding your child. Mark these out and prepare to make changes to your home for better accessibility and convenience.
Here are some of the common child care tasks you’ll need to think about.
Since this is an activity that can be dangerous and nerve-wracking for any new parent, you might want to bathe your child with a trusted friend or family member who can help the first few times. Meanwhile, install grab bars in tubs and showers to assist you in safely bathing your child. You may want to install a non-stick shower floor as well. Be sure to buy the right sized tub for your child and use it as specified. You can buy gadgets that determine if the water is too hot but always test it yourself. Learn how to set the right bath temperature for baby at Livestrong.
You can also adapt a bathtub to be more accessible to your needs. Learn howat Parents With Disabilities Online. Remember to never leave your baby unattended even in a few inches of water.
Label baby food and bottles with textured tape or Braille labels for easier meal preparation if you are visually impaired. If your child uses a feeding chair that is too high for you, buy one with adjustable legs or use a baby chair that you can put on low surfaces. You can also get a portable high chair that attaches to your table for older babies.
A side-opening crib is a great tool for a parent in a wheelchair. You also might want to consider having your newborn sleep in the room with you for quickest nighttime access.
If you can’t find a changing table of adjustable height for a baby, you can use a side open crib or other tables that are low and accessible for wheelchair access. Convenience items, such as a Diaper Genie, provide a go-to solution for diapers for those who are visually impaired, eliminating nasty odors. You can also get wipe holders that attach to the crib for accessibility.
Transporting Your Child
Consider purchasing an accessible van for your family if you don’t have one already. You can purchase a car seat that swivels for your child to easily transport him.
In addition to baby proofing, you’ll need adjustments to make your home easier to navigate, like using non-slip rugs and mats, especially on ramps. Remove tripping hazards in unexpected areas. Create a system where you can store your baby’s toys safely while not in use.
Learn more about preparing for parenthood with a disability in this article from The Dad Website. If you need more information and help, check out this list of Disability organizations in the U.S. or visit the Disabled Parenting Project for lots of advice, tips, and resources.
Parenting with a disability is a rewarding endeavor but there will be challenges. Today, parents can use innovations and creative ideas that help them face the challenges of different childcare tasks so they can focus on raising their family.
Article submitted by Ashley Taylor