Ashley from Disabledparents.org – April 04, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Tips to Prepare Your Home (and Your Life!) for Parenting With a Disability

Published on 04 April, 2018

Parenting is a huge responsibility, and all of us face it feeling at least a little terrified at times.  However with some preparations, you can enter into parenting with confidence.  Using some thoughtfulness and creativity will have you set up for success in no time!

There are a number of steps you should take to make your home ready for your baby.  It’s important to focus first on general home safety.  In fact, experts at Redfin advise that the sooner you start, the better.  Putting off preparing your home can create unnecessary stress, and who needs that?  Here are some great basics to get the ball rolling:

     Every home should be equipped with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and they should be installed and maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.

     Make sure you also have a working fire extinguisher. 

     Secure large pieces of furniture and televisions so that your baby can’t tip them over.  Sure, your little one won’t be mobile right away, but those days will be here before you know it!

     Put the crib in a safe area away from electrical cords and window treatments.

     Install child-proof locks on cabinets and toilets. 

     Install protective covers on electrical outlets and also cover or pad sharp corners.

One of the best ways to meet parenting challenges is through equipment.  According to some experts, you may discover that standard equipment doesn’t meet your needs.  Thankfully, there are lots of clever devices available to assist you with raising a child.  To decide what’s best for you, assess your environment and your abilities.  For instance, do you have access to smooth pavement for outdoor activities, and are you able to use both hands for clips?  Will you require devices that could be secured to a bath or wheelchair?  You may find it helpful to discuss your particulars with an occupational therapist.  In the meantime, here are some terrific options to explore:

     Cribs are available in designs with sides that drop down and offer adjustable heights.

     To make feeding easier, there are eating trays and high chairs with adjustable heights, sturdy designs to prevent being knocked over, and parts that come off easily for washing. 

     If you are hearing impaired, look into intercom systems and alarms with flashing lights to alert you when your baby is crying.

     Carriages and strollers are available in lightweight, easy-to-manage designs, and some can be attached to wheelchairs.  There are even options with adjustable heights and pull-out baby carriers. 

     There are carrying harnesses with clips and straps that are easy to manipulate.  They also come in contrasting colors to make adjustable parts more visible. 

     Magnifying technology and text-to-speech products can be a boon in preparing formula and foods. 

Some experts note that during pregnancy, you may find the changes in mobility and balance particularly disconcerting.  It can become necessary to alter your travel arrangements and mobility choices to safely accommodate your growing baby.  Note that with changes in balance, it’s especially important to ensure your home is free of clutter and you keep pathways clear to avoid falls.  Also, you may need to be creative to remain comfortable and mobile.  For instance, if you stay seated during waking hours, some studies show success with swapping out cushions to avoid pressure ulcers, changing elevation, or altering how your legs are arranged. 

It’s super important not to become isolated; parenting is always easier with a team approach.  Sometimes it’s helpful to reach out to other people with situations like your own for brainstorming and networking, or just to feel connected.  You may want to participate in an online support group. 

As you prepare for parenthood, take a good look at your home and make changes accordingly.  Look for equipment to make life easier when your little one arrives, be creative in problem-solving, and engage a support network.  With some plans in place, you’ll be set for parenting success.

This article was written by a fellow parent, Ashley from disabledparents.org, who are now blessed with two children of her own! For more stories on experiences and information, do visit the aforementioned website!


Image courtesy of Independent.co.uk.

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