Parents with disabilities face numerous challenges when caring for a newborn. Besides the usual lack of sleep and anxiety about such a small and dependent life, much of the equipment for infants and children present substantial barriers for parents with disabilities. Changing tables are built for standing, bathtubs can take two (or more!) hands, and cribs require parents to have substantial flexibility and lifting strength.
Cribs are manufactured according to strict standards designed for the safety of the child, not for universal access; the railings are all 2 or 3 feet off the floor, and a foot or more above the mattress. Because infants are left unattended in cribs overnight, they need to be built in such a way that the child cannot accidentally fall out of the crib or get any part of their body (especially the head and neck) trapped between components. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has publicly accessible explanations, as well as formal guidance for manufacturers.
This Instructable describes modifying a wooden crib to allow a parent of short stature to access the crib without lifting. The railing opens from side to side, and the mattress is positioned just above the floor.
An article about this project will appear in MAKE 17, available on newsstands 10 March 2009.
Step 1: Materials and Tools Required
McMaster-Carr Item PriceDrawer glides 26" full-extension 2712A9 $ 21.50/pairAl tube 1/4" ID, 1/2" OD x 1/2" L 92510A765 1.54Angle bracket 11/16" x 1" 1556A26 0.49Quick-release T-handle pin (2") 92490A651 5.62 Common Hardware Quantity3/4" square moulding 53 in#8x1-1/2" wood screws 9 ea1/4" external retaining clip 1 eaHigh-density foam block 25" x 3-1/2" x 2"
The project could be completed entirely with hand tools. The use of a drill press with vise, especially for modifying the angle bracket, is highly recommended for accuracy and for safety. You'll need:
- Sabre saw or jigsaw (a hand crosscut saw would work, but you'll get cleaner cuts this way)
- Variable speed electric drill
- Drill press (pictured) with vise (optional but recommended)
- Drill index with wood bits: 3/32", 1/4", 3/16", 5/16", 3/8", 1/2"
- High-speed steel 1/4" bit or step-drill bit (pictured)
- 1/8" round file or deburring tool (pictured)
- Drill stops
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Rotary tool (Dremel) with abrasive cutting disk
- Masking or painter's (blue) tape
- 220-grit sandpaper