Prep Home for Disabled Child

August 1, 2018

Tips for Parents on How to Prepare the Home

for a Child With Disabilities

 

 

When it comes to preparing a house or apartment for children with disabilities, you want to create an environment that fosters confidence and independence. The best way to do that is by making sure they feel both physically and emotionally safe. When children feel safe, they are more likely to explore and challenge themselves as they learn.

 

To help create a physically safe environment in the home, you may need to make modifications. The world is not always designed for children with disabilities, but by taking measures around the house to make life easier for them, you are giving them a place where they feel like they belong. Your home should be a safe space where they can just be themselves.

 

Baby-proofing for a Child With Disabilities

 

Baby-proofing, or childproofing, is an offshoot of nesting that helps reduce the amount of safety hazards in your home. As an infant, your child doesn’t have the motor skills necessary for getting in many major accidents around the house, but there are still dangers present. Much of baby-proofing for infants relates to preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

 

To reduce the risk of SIDS, make sure your child’s crib is free of soft objects, loose bedding, and pillows. While these accessories make our sleeping experience more comfortable, they pose a risk for infants. Instead, simply cover the crib mattress with a clean, fitted sheet. Consider keeping the crib in the same room you sleep in for the first few months so you can closely monitor your baby’s sleeping habits.

 

As your child grows, you will want to implement other baby-proofing measures:

 

  • Put child-proof latches on all cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Cover electrical outlets.
  • Block off steps and stairs with baby gates on both sides.
  • Put bumpers on the corners of tables, shelves, and other furniture.
  • Tape down rugs or remove them altogether to prevent tripping as your baby learns to walk.
  • Keep glass objects and other home accessories made out of materials that shatter out of reach from your child.

 

If your home has a pool, there are several pool safety best practices to follow for the sake of your kids. The pool should be secured with proper barriers, and you should never leave your child in the yard unattended. As soon as your child is ready, enroll him or her in swim classes. While you are at it, become CPR and first-aid certified so you can handle an emergency just in case.

 

Accommodating the Home for a Child With Disabilities

 

Whatever home accommodations or modifications you make depend on your child’s specific needs. However, there are some things pretty much all families can do to make a house more accessible for a person with a disability.

 

  • Make sure all areas of the house are well lit and free of tripping hazards.
  • Put handrails or grab bars where they may be useful, including along steps, in the bathroom, etc.
  • Consider putting safety ramps over stairs.
  • Widen doorways and hallways to make it easier to move around the house.
  • Add or lower light switches so they are accessible, or consider putting in a device where the user can turn a light on or off without touch.
  • Switch to hard surface floors or a low-pile carpet.
  • Add a bench in showers and/or bathtubs.
  • Install an intercom system so family members can communicate throughout the house.

 

Ways to Make the Home Safe and Comfortable for Your Life as a New Parent

 

When baby-proofing, it’s easy to forget about your needs as a new parent. The first thing you should do is take care of whatever items on your to-do list you can before your bundle of joy arrives. Not only will this keep your entire family safe, you’ll also have one less thing to worry about while you’re caring for your little one. For example, change out the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Also be sure to replace your home’s air filters. Research has indicated that there is a relationship between asthma and environmental pollution, especially in children.

 

Think about some of the bigger things you can do to make your life easier as a new parent. Just before the baby arrives, make several large meals that you can throw in the freezer and reheat when you’re short on time, energy and groceries. Finally, although it’s a large purchase, now may be the time to invest in a new mattress if you haven’t done so in seven or more years. Sleep is a precious commodity when you’re a new parent, so having a comfortable place to sleep will be invaluable. Do some research on what kind will be best for you based on your sleeping style. For example, if you’re a side sleeper, a memory foam mattress will help prevent hip, shoulder and knee pain.

 

***

 

Accommodating your home for a child with disabilities provides a safe and comfortable environment that fosters independence and confidence. Babyproofing is just as important for a child with disabilities as it is for any other child. Get rid of anything that puts an infant at higher risk for SIDS, and consider keeping the crib in your room for the first few months. Childproof the house as your child grows to prevent accidents, and don’t forget to take some time to address your own needs. Whatever modifications you make depend on your child’s needs, but things like touchless light switches, shower benches, and an intercom system can work for just about any home.

 

 

Article provided by Medina at Accessiville.org.

 

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