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Baby furniture

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(All photographs and pictures are properly referenced via the links per photo. To view origins and references for each, please click on the respective photo or picture.)

Baby furniture may vary in consistency and inclusive objects and/or installations; baby furniture includes cribs, bassinets, and changing tables. Further furniture that may be used in a household with a baby for purposes of ease or better accessibility include pull down shelves.

Contents

Cribs

Accessible crib

Cribs that are wheelchair-accessible are generally accessible for users who are standing and allow for users to not have to lift babies upwards and therefore exert less effort pulling the baby out of the crib horizontally through removable doors fencing the crib bed and baby in.

Self-made accessible cribs

The photo on the right showcases a family's self-made crib; according to the family, they had gone to stores in pursuit of a crib that could be operated by both the mother, who used a wheelchair to gain mobility, and the father, who could walk without aid and therefore could stand to lift his child out of the crib:

"None of the cribs in the stores could be used by someone in a wheelchair, because they all had sides that dropped down and blocked the floor under them. So I couldn't get close enough to any of them to reach the baby. So we decided to ask someone to make a crib that I could use, but that could also be operated by my husband, who is not disabled."[1]

Since the family couldn't find a crib that was suitable to their needs, they enlisted the services of the Volunteers for Medical Engineering, in Baltimore, MD; the organization sent an engineer to the family's home to modify a crib the family members had already bought. The legs of the crib were raised fifteen inches off the ground to allow the mother's wheelchair to roll underneath the crib bed so that she may be closer to her child when she is to pick her up. This way, the baby may be pulled towards the mother and into the latter's lap without the mother having to lean forward or exert effort to lift the child up. The doors in front of the crib open to expose each half the crib so that there is not too much room exposed as to allow the baby to accidentally fall out while not within the mother's reach.[1]

Universally-designed cribs

Mother in wheelchair reaching for child

Most cribs that are built within the characteristics of universal design facilitate a similar scenario as the one detailed above. The cribs offer enough clearance underneath as to allow persons in wheelchairs or who prefer sitting to draw very near to the baby so that less effort may be exerted in carrying the baby out of the crib. In general, all accessible cribs allow for horizontal and vertical mobilization of carrying the child out.

Bassinets

Bassinets are small beds for babies around and under four months to use. They typically include standalone cribs that resemble cocoons, replete with small mattresses and coverings that are fitted around the bassinet and overhead of the mattress. Bassinets come as small basket-like cribs set on the ground and may proffer attachable wheeled legs.

Changes to reflect universal accessibility

Bassinets created to facilitate universal accessibility may incorporate having a clearance space underneath consisting of a height of at least thirty inches and possibly a width greater than 30" [2] so wheelchair users may roll underneath comfortably to access the baby in the bassinet and crib contents.

Changing tables

Pressalit Care Changing Table
An example of a universally accessible changing table is provided by the company Pressalit. This is an adult-sized changing table that is remote-controlled; the table can be vertically shifted up and down and offers safety grab bars. This kind of table for an infant (if scaled-down) may facilitate easy manipulation of the changing table and allow for persons to change the baby at any preferable height, and since no effort is needed to shift the table up and down because one may use a remote control, one may perform that task while holding the baby or being preoccupied, or not being able to physically use much strength in the arms.

Demonstration of usage

Pressalit Care Changing Table

Pull down shelf

The pull down shelf typically includes an accordion-like extension system secured to mobile shelves and a grab bar system onto which grips are attached to indicate areas of interactivity; by exerting downwards effort upon a grab bar, one may bring the mobile shelves lower by approximately one foot, depending on which manufacturer has produced the pull down shelves.

Non-stigmatizing nature

Pregnant woman using pull down shelves

Pull down shelves are non-stigmatizing - one of the reasons why being they cater without discrimination or adjustment to persons who often are sitting (for example, someone who constantly uses a wheelchair for mobility) and persons who can stand or are too short to easily reach all shelves of the cabinet. In short, one could categorize pull down shelves under universal design because the design proffers benefits and full usage to virtually any user and includes no physical references to what users are appropriate.

Man in wheelchair using pull down shelves
The number of persons who may easily reach the shelves depends on the actual cabinet's height, which is usually at a low enough level at which many can reach the installed grab bar. According to hearsay, pull down shelves facilitate ease of reaching and access to items on high shelves for all and are useful to all members of the household they are installed in, regardless of physical stature and impairments, and are therefore preferred over normal static kitchen shelves.

Persons carrying babies and/or other objects that babies use, such as blankets, baby bags or totes, bottles, breast pumps, and baby car seats may need a convenient, fast way to reach items in shelves and therefore may utilize pull down shelves to quickly move cabinet contents within reach.

References

1. Trish. "Wheelchair Accessible Crib." Parents with Disabilities Online. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. [1]

2. Sun Tran report on standard wheechair measurements. [2]