Becoming a new parent is an exciting and nerve-wracking time. This is especially true when you’re suffering from a disability. There are certain things you have to cross off your to-do list before you bring your baby home from the hospital, including making sure your home is safe for you and your little one. Here are five tips for new parents with disabilities.
Replace Steps with a Ramp
If you have a physical disability that limits you to a wheelchair, climbing stairs is pretty much impossible. That’s why it’s a good idea to replace any steps in your home with ramps before your baby is born. Ramps will also help alleviate any physical stress on your body, and you can use that extra energy to raise your little one. The type of ramp you should install depends on your lifestyle and mobility.
Install Skid-Resistant Flooring
You’re going to need to bathe your baby. Most of the time, you’ll probably end up getting water on the floor due to your baby splashing around, which can cause you to slip and fall if you’re not careful. To prevent this, install slip-resistant flooring in your bathroom to avoid any hazardous situations. Make the choice between rubber flooring and abrasive vinyl flooring. Rubber flooring is easier if you’re in a wheelchair, and it's hypoallergenic and offers low-maintenance cleaning. Vinyl flooring is very durable and cost-effective and can be found in a variety of designs.
Install Expandable Hinges
Expandable hinges for the doorways in your home can make life so much easier when it comes to raising a child with a disability. If you are in a wheelchair, make sure that it can fit through every doorway in your home. If it can’t, expandable hinges are an easy solution. These hinges work by providing an extra two inches of space within a doorway, which can allow you to move through your home in your wheelchair with ease, without worrying about banging the side of your wheelchair on the frame.
Baby Proof your Home
Doing this before your baby comes home will save you a big headache later on. Even though your newborn won’t be able to crawl for a while, you’ll be able to put your mind at ease knowing your baby is safe from any dangers. Start with your kitchen and put on any childproof safety latches on the cabinets. Then, move onto your bathroom. Put a soft cover around the faucet in your bathtub so that your baby doesn’t accidentally bang his head while taking a bath. Also, remember to never leave your baby unattended while taking a bath because he could easily drown. Finally, walk through your home and put away any electrical cords and bolt all units and other unstable furniture to your walls.
Clean and Meal Prep
Once your child comes into this world, you’re not going to have much time to do the small things anymore, like cook and clean. We recommend tidying up before your baby comes home and clearing your home of any clutter. You can also prepare some meals ahead of time and freeze them, which will make for easy dinners. This will save you stress and provide a little peace of mind during the first few weeks of caring for your newborn.
Being a new parent isn’t easy. But by making your home more accessible, babyproofing, and cooking some meals ahead of time, you’ll be ready to meet the challenge.
About the Author Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children