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Easy Bath Time

Bath time is a huge part of a young child’s daily routine. Yet it can be difficult if a parent or a child has a disability.

The volunteer team at the TAD Hunter Group have come up with a brilliant solution to bath time troubles.

A therapist in the Hunter region approached them on behalf of a client who has back problems and was struggling to lift her child out of the bath. She needed a bath that was supported by a stand at table height. The therapist had a second-hand bath but it needed a frame to set it at the correct height.

Volunteer Peter Cork designed and fabricated a frame using square steel tube. This worked well and soon word spread around the parents’ network resulting in more requests for the bath inserts.

One of these clients was Naomi. She was having problems giving her son Ethan a bath. Ethan is almost one year old and has Hypotonia, Epilepsy and paralysis from the waist down. Naomi was finding it hard bathing him in a standard bath as she had to bend to put him in and lift him out. “Ethan’s limbs are very floppy and he can’t hold up his own head,” explains Naomi. “It was becoming very painful to get him into the bath.”

Since the original bath was no longer available, the group took the decision to make a male mould to create a concave shape which could be used to produce many baths if required.

Volunteer John Saunders, who had completed a TAFE course on basic fiberglassing, took on the challenge. John used the dimensions from the original bath and changed the design to make the frame construction simpler. He also included a standard 50mm waste outlet.

After making the mould, he laid up the bath which was made in the same vain as a general purpose fiberglass construction. John laid a gel coat of about 0.45mm thick onto the mould. The lay up was made up of three layers of CSM (Chopped Strand Mat) laid with a general purpose resin. This resulted in a strong but light bath.

Peter made another stand and the combined unit was tested by the group for safety. The first bath became a demonstration model and further baths had either a painted steel frame or stainless steel.

When Naomi’s urgent request came through for a bath, the team quickly made a frame and gave her the demonstration bath while they made another. “The new bath is wonderful,” says Naomi. “I have other children with disabilities and the volunteers at TAD have made different things for them like toilet steps and modified tables. It’s so great to have things modified exactly to my needs.”

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