When it comes to parenting as a blind person, some great tools, products, and resources can make all the difference. Check out some of my favorite recommendations below of things I’ve found to be accessible, affordable, and practical in making everyday life easier. Keep in mind that this is a fluid list and not designed to be a comprehensive list of blindness resources. (Links are also included for some of the items . )
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Car Seats and Travel Aids
- Sit n’ Stroll Car seat-I have written about this car seat in older posts. However, it no longer meets safety standards, nor can you purchase it very easily or get any customer service if a part breaks, so I can no longer recommend it is good faith even though it was a great tool at the time. I went through two of them.
- Grayco Extend2Fit Car seat‘- This is the car seat I started using after I learned about the safety regulations with the Sit n’ stroll and broke one of the retractable wheels off mine. This seat while a bit heavy has glowing safety recommendations and grows with your child. I started using it right after my child outgrew the infant carrier and it will last up until booster seat time. It is heavier than some other car seats, so I use it with a small wagon called the Travel mate and it works great and fits on easily. Car seat- great convertible car seat that works well with the Travel mate. It’s heavy, so lugging it around without some kind of small wagon is a bit of a chore, so if you use it, be aware of the weight. But, it fits nicely onto the Travel Mate, for example, and doubles as a great stroller for smooth terrain and indoor travel. Easy to install in rear or forward-facing ways with the car seatbelt or LATCH system. It has really great safety reviews too and will last your child for a few years so you won’t have to worry about buying multiple car seats.
- Bubble Bum Inflatable Booster car seat-This is an inflatable booster seat that is very lightweight and can fold up to be put in a backpack. It also comes with a carrying pack. It has good safety reviews and is great for someone who has to carry car seats around. They are pretty reasonably priced too.
- Go Go Babiez Travel Mate-This is a small wagon base that works with most commercial car seats. It has a retractable handle and once a car seat is strapped onto it, it allows you to use the car seat like a stroller. It pulls really easy and is lightweight. You can fold down the handle to store it and it will fit easily in a back seat on the floor under your child’s seat or in the trunk of a car without taking up much space. The straps to sinch the car seat in place can be a bit cumbersome, but once you get the hang of it, strapping the car seat on won’t take too long. These are also reasonably priced and worth it if you have to carry car seats.
Baby Wearing Gear
Baby carriers are a must for a blind parent who wants to be able to travel with a cane. There are so many benefits to “babywearing” and I’m a huge fan of the practice. There are a variety of models and styles, so the important thing to keep in mind is finding one that works for you. It should fit your style, needs, and be easy for you to take on and off and take your child in and out of. These are my favorites which I used with all my children.
- Baby Bjorn Carrier -The Baby Bjorn was the first one I tried and it was very easy to place my baby inside and fasten. This model, however, is only for carrying your child in front of you and facing you. I moved to the Ergo after my children were older and able to face outward or ride on my back.
- Ergo Baby Carrier–Love this! It was a pricy product, but well worth the investment. I bought mine when my first child was about fourteen months old. I’ve used it for all three children, and use it regularly so it’s taken a lot of ware. Mine is now seven years old and is getting a little faded and worn, but still in great shape. You can carry your child either on your front or back, but I found it difficult to fasten the buckles on my back when wearing my child on my front without enlisting the help of someone else, so I tended to use the Bjorn when they were infants and the Ergo when I could put them on my back. It allows you to carry your child on your back up until they are about 40 lbs, so in my case, about three years old.
- Audio Only Baby monitor-I recommend finding one that is two-way and does not have a visual display or flat screen, but tactile buttons so you can operate it. We used this VTech model.
- Instant Pot with Smart WiFI-allows you to operate it from your phone. You can access all the settings too.
- Honeywell Thermostat with WiFi-This allows you to control your thermostat with your phone, including programming it.
- Echo Dot-This has so many uses! Radio, news, access to audiobooks, controls the thermostat, controls appliances, etc. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one.
- Apple T.V.-This has built-in voice over which allows you to access all the menus and apps. You can also enable audio description so if you watch a show on Netflix or a movie with an audio descriptive track, the DVS will automatically come on
- Xfinity V1 Platform Accessible Cable Box -This takes a particular cable package but is so worth it if you want to be able to access the menus and additional features (i.e., Netflix, OnDemand, etc.) with your television.
- Mega Bus
- Bolt Bus
- Transit (app)-This app uses GPS to locate the nearest bus stop to your location and shows you bus times in real-time. works in Multiple cities too and does not require a subscription.
- My Disney Experience (app)-In addition to showing “all things Disney”, it tracks resort and park buses and monorail trains in real-time.
GROCERY and HOUSEHOLD GOODS DELIVERY SERVICES
- Target.com/shipt-Their new “Shipt” service provides grocery delivery. Requires a membership fee. Also not available in some areas.
- Instant Cart (app)- Check the availability in your area as well as what stores participate. Delivers groceries from local stores in your area the same day. Charges a delivery fee along with a certain percentage for a service fee, or you can subscribe to a yearly membership. Prices are hirer than in the store. (Possible store options include: CVS, PetCo, Aldi’s, Giant, Wegmans, Shoppers, and Cosco.
- Walmart Pick up or Grocery Delivery- Check the availability in your area. You can order groceries online and pick them up the next day at the store. If you order before 10 a.m., you can pick them up “the same day.” For the moment, there is no additional fee for the service, and prices seem comparable to in-store prices. They are starting the same day delivery service in some areas as well which will deliver to your home.
- Amazon Prime- Pay a yearly membership (around $100-$120) and have access to same-day delivery on hundreds of household products, including grocery delivery from Whole Foods. You also get access to Prime Video and free shipping for Prime members on most of Amazon’s other items. Limited to certain areas.
- SamsClub.com- Offers a same-day pick up “Pick N’ Pull” Service.
- Safeway.com-Order groceries and have them delivered to your home. Usually has to be the next day. It has a delivery fee that ranges from $9-$12 depending on the window of time you choose for your delivery.
- Peapod.com- Online grocery delivery service. Since this pulls from a warehouse, there doesn’t seem to be as many fresh items or produce options, but it offers a pretty wide selection of grocery items. Charges a delivery fee. Which varies depending on the delivery window you choose.
- Target.com- Order online and have most items found in store shipped to your home or you can pick it up at the store same day.
USEFUL MISC ONLINE SERVICES
- Stamps.com- You can order stamps and print off mailing labels for items and avoid trips to the post office. Requires a subscription.
- StitchFix.com-This is a personal shopper service for clothing and accessories. You create a profile and determine when or how frequently you would like your “fix” shipped to you. You pay a service fee as well as the price for the items in your shipment, which you can also specify. Any items you do not want can be easily returned or exchanged. It offers services for women and men.
Fast Food Delivery
- UberEats (app)-Subject to availability in your area.
- Grub Hub (app)-Subject to availability in your area.
- Seeing Ai (app)
- KNFB Reader for Mobile (app)
- Kurzweil Scanning Software
- Jaws –Screen reader software for a PC
- Magic –Screen magnification for a PC
- Descriptive Video Services (DVS)-Built in on many movies now; if using an Apple T.V., make sure to turn on the descriptive audio service in your settings under accessibility and any Netflix or movies from iTunes videos with a DVS track will automatically play the track. Check out this list from the American Council for the Blind for a list of movies with descriptive video service
Braille Book Resources
- Seedlings Braille Books
- American Action Fund Books
- National Braille Press
- American Foundation for the Blind
- Micro scooters-Great for our kids since we walk so many places. These are light-weight so I can carry them if need be. Watch for a future post with more info on how we use these for more than just fun.
- Balls with bells -We have a basketball and soccer ball which allows us to play easier with our kids.
- Adapted board and card games-Check out the National Federation of the Blind’s Independence Market, National Braille Press, or the American Foundation for the Blind.
- My Disney Experience App-Very accessible with voice over and allows you to check wait times on lines, read menus, get Fast Passes, and more when you visit Walt Disney World. Check out my posts on traveling to Disney World here.
- Sensational Blackboard -See my post on helping your children with homework here
- Saxon Math Manipulatives-Also explained in the above-mentioned post about homework.