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Customised baby crib

Fine Round Cribs, based in the USA, produces made-to-order wooden baby cribs and changing tables, which can be customised with leg extensions to enable wheelchair access. Jason Carley, a disabled father from Oklahoma, USA, reviews the crib.

I am paraplegic, so when my wife and I decided to have children, we began searching for a crib that I would be able to work with.

I tried several traditional cribs but had problems when reaching down into the crib to pick up the child, as I was unable to raise back up again while carrying the weight of the child in my arms.

We shopped around, looking at cribs with a front panel that drops down, but I was unable to push the bottom of the panel with my foot to release the mechanism. I tried to use one hand to release the drop-down panel, and one hand to lower the panel, but it was very difficult.

My wife searched online and found She called Matt Kathain, the owner and builder, and discussed our situation with him. He assured us that he could build something to suit my needs and took detailed measurements of my wheelchair. His suggested solution was to add leg extensions onto one of his standard cribs, which works really well.

I am able to roll right up to the crib. I can open the front panels like doors, and my knees fit under the front ‘lip’ of the crib. I am able to reach almost all the way across to the other side to lift my son. I also use it as a changing station to change his diapers. He loves the crib too and enjoys playing and sleeping in it. I feel that I can care for my son in a way that is safe for him and me. The crib meets all the safety standards our country requires, and most standard crib toys and attachments work on it.

I believe this crib would work for most paraplegic individuals. The latches on the doors may be difficult for someone with upper body weakness or problems with dexterity, but Matt Kathain may be able to help you find an alternative.

The only problem we have had with our crib was difficulty with assembly. The instructions were hard to understand, and we couldn’t figure out where all the pieces fitted! However, my father-in-law is very handy and was able to assemble it fairly easily. It fits together beautifully. The leg extensions are removable if we decide to use it as a toddler bed in the future.

Jason Carley

Fine Round Cribs

Details and current prices of cribs can be found at Cribs can be shipped internationally.

Editor’s note

Please note that if the doors of a crib open outwards, there may be safety concerns regarding the possible risk of a baby rolling out when the parent moves back to close the doors. Wheelchair accessible cots with sliding doors allow the parent to remain in front of the open side when closing the door. A design for this type of model is available from Through the Looking Glass, the USA-based organisation for families in which a child, parent or grandparent has a disability or medical issue.

Through the Looking Glass
2198 Sixth Street, Suite 100
Berkeley, CA 94710-2204
Tel (voice): 1-800-644-2666
Textphone (TTY): 1-800-804-1616

DPPI publishes a practical guide, Choosing and using cots and beds, free to disabled parents and £6 to others. Available from DPPI information service.

First published DPPI Journal, Issue 61: Spring 2008


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