This article investigated the interplay of 12‐month‐old infants’ perception of affordances for locomotion and their ability to respond to the mention of hidden objects. In Experiment I, a toy was hidden in an ottoman that was placed on a cabinet out of infants’ reach. Infants were more likely to look at, point to or approach the ottoman when there were stairs leading to it than when there were none. The stairs did not help infants respond by highlighting the target corner of the room (Experiment II) or by boosting their engagement with the study events (Experiment III). This suggests that infants’ perception of the accessibility of the hiding location influences their ability to respond to speech about absent things.