Preparing Your Home and Your Life for Children as a Disabled Parent
Preparing your home for parenthood is something every new parent needs to do, but for parents with disabilities, this sometimes takes a bit more planning. For example, just holding your child might be a special challenge for you depending on your disability, so it’s important to make sure your plans accommodate special circumstances. Perhaps you need to hire someone to modify baby furniture or buy special items that make carrying your baby easier.
Safeguarding Your Home
Childproofing is not a new concept, and it is mostly the same process for you. However, there are special things you may have to consider. If you have medication you regularly take, you will need to get in the habit early on of keeping it all in one place — maybe a zippered bag or one specific cabinet. If you always keep your medication safely in the same place, it will be easy to notice if you have accidentally left a prescription laying around somewhere.
You might also want to install extra baby gates. If you have a physical disability that limits mobility, you may not be able to reach your child quickly if something happens. Installing baby gates in every doorway where you will be spending time will shrink the space between you and your child and prevent them from wandering into different rooms you can’t get to quickly.
Safeguarding Your Vehicle
Choosing car seats and booster seats can sometimes prove to be especially tricky for parents with disabilities. They can be cumbersome, heavy and sometimes difficult to fasten. The best thing to do is to visit a store with a large selection so that you can see all the features and practice lifting and fastening them until you find one that works best for you. Look for features like full-swivel and easy-fastening clips.
It’s time to switch to a booster seat when a child is at least 4 years old and weighs at least 40 pounds. At this point, your child can probably buckle himself into a seat as long as you find one that is easy to use. For most booster seats, the seat belt just buckles over the child and the seat to secure it. If you choose a booster seat with its own fastener, though, take your child with you to the store to try it out first. If he can buckle himself in, it will be extremely helpful to you. Check out Family Living Today for a list of the best booster car seats.
Other Preparations to Make
Other things to think about include transportation and medical care. If you are unable to transport yourself, who will get you and your child to the doctor for necessary appointments or emergencies? Even though you may already have your transportation needs covered, are these solutions suitable for your child? For example, if you take the bus, can you also feasibly manage a car seat and baby bags while getting on and off the bus? For most people, this is as simple as having reliable friends or family members close by who have agreed to help out when needed.
You will also need to take into consideration grocery shopping and other outings. It may be simpler in the beginning to have a personal assistant or family member who can run these types of errands for you. There are even government resources to help pay for these types of services.
Don’t take for granted the time you have before your baby arrives. Many parents believe they will have plenty of time to take care of necessary tasks afterwards, but then often find they are too exhausted and busy to do anything but see to the needs of their child. Plan ahead and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you can take part of the stress out of parenting, you will find you will enjoy your baby so much more.