What To Look For In Pediatric Wheelchairs

When someone becomes limited in their mobility, for whatever reason, the first thing they miss is their freedom. This can have an even bigger impact on children and above all else, they will need to have that sense of freedom restored as soon as possible. To do this the right way, parents and caregivers must look at getting them any one of many models of pediatric wheelchairs available today. Before just buying any old one, however, there are several considerations that must be taken into consideration before purchasing one.

Keeping Children’s Needs in Mind

Very often, when a child develops mobility issues, the doctor or staff of their physical therapy center will help you go through a complete assessment of your child’s needs, especially when it comes to purchasing powered pediatric wheelchairs. There is a set list of abilities that they will assess, and make recommendations for the wheelchair they need based on this assessment.

One of the first things they take under consideration is their need for posture support, and seating needs. If the child has little to no ability to hold themselves upright, then they may a wheelchair that will help them to do so, along with comfortable and safe seating that will cushion them, and not give them pressure sores. The next is their ability to do simple physical tasks, like using a joystick or activating a switch. This, too, will help you to choose the appropriate power chair for their needs, especially the control system.

Features of Appropriate Power Chairs

Pediatric chairs are available in many the same types as the adult versions. Now that you know their physical range, you can get the right control system for any power chair that your child wants, from joystick control to activator switches used by hand or other methods, like a blow tube. Chairs come with a variety of position settings available, so that all times they experience a true freedom of movement while in it. All chairs can be outfitted with growth extensions, so that should they need it, the back, arm, feet and leg rests can be adapted to fit your child as they grow.

Make sure that your child is an active participant in the choosing of their chair. If your child is going to be active and out and about, you may want to consider a wheel drive and speed that will be appropriate to their lifestyle. Rear wheel drives have great speeds, but poor maneuverability in tight spaces. Front wheel drives make sharp turns at relatively the same speed. Then there is the mid-wheel drive, with the tightest turn radius of them all. And, do not forget about long-life battery packs and all terrain tires.

Options for You

In addition to choosing the right chair for your child, you need to consider things for yourself that will help transport it all, wherever you need to go. For the home, you will need to install permanent or portable ramps, both inside and out. When it comes to transporting such a wheelchair in the family car, the type of frame will determine what will be needed for easy transportation and storage.

Lightweight frames, of course, are the easiest to transport, especially with the added feature that they often come in a folding form. Simply fold it and tuck it into the trunk or behind the seats. The heavier models of pediatric wheelchairs can come with folding or non-folding frames, including the heavy-duty, sports appropriate models. For these you will probably need a ramp for the van or truck, or at least a lift to maneuver it in and out of the vehicle.