Another one for the social crime list: Parenting While Disabled

A few days ago, I talked a bit about invisible disability and the access issues that people seem to just not think about. Today I’ve been reading the Blogging Against Disablism Day posts at Diary of a Goldfish. Tokah has a post up at From Where I’m Sitting:“Universal Design… not!”. Her rant shouldn’t be revelatory, but it is.

Tokah parents a six month old girl, and has been unable to find childcare equipment that has been designed with wheelchair accessibility in mind. Change tables are an exercise in pain, highchairs are unusable, strollers are useless, and cots:

If the side is up, I can’t reach over it. If its down, it blocks me from getting close enough to reach into the crib.

I poked around the web a little. It returned few pages, mostly from the UK, talking about childcare assessments for parents with disabilities. Almost all of the equipment links I followed led to equipment for parents with sensory disabilities, like baby monitors for Deaf parents. did find this one off-the-shelf wheelchair babycarrier. Just one.

It seems most parents are left to either try to adapt themselves to clunky, inaccessible equipment, or to get someone to custom-make items like this accessible cot. (How many adapted items meet written national safety standards, I wonder?)

This is a problem that should be trivially solvable. But it just hasn’t occurred to manufacturers that a person who uses a wheelchair might be a parent. Or that a parent might just be someone who uses a wheelchair. Or it has, but they can’t spin enough cash from it. Sheesh.

Check out the rest of the BADD posts, and keep a watch on the Gimp Parade for tomorrow’s Disability Blog Carnival #14.



Categories: health, relationships

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. That wheelchair baby-carrier doesn’t strike me as all that practical. How could a wheelchair-bound parent put their baby into that independently?

  2. Apparently it’s free-standing when not connected to the chair. But it has none of the other features of good strollers – it doesn’t look reclinable, it’s not reversible (so parent and child can look at each other), no sunshade, and so on.

  3. I’m running through the older carnivals I missed while getting married, and came upon your post.
    Thank you for taking the challenge, and looking for accessibly baby stuff. I liked the stroller to a friend who was looking as well. I appreciate it. =)

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