Every child deserves the opportunity to explore their world, interact with others, and experience independence, regardless of their physical abilities. For children with mobility challenges, a mobility chair can be a vital tool that enables them to move around with ease, actively participate in various activities, and enhance their overall quality of life.
However, selecting the right child mobility chair can be a daunting task, as there are numerous factors to consider in order to ensure both functionality and comfort. In this blog post, we guide you through the process of choosing the perfect mobility chair for your child, taking into account their unique needs, preferences, and developmental stage.
What is a child mobility chair?
Also known as a pediatric mobility chair, a child mobility chair is specially designed and customized to provide support for children with limited mobility. These chairs are designed to enhance independence, allowing children to move around more freely, participate in various activities, and interact with their environment.
These chairs are equipped with features that provide comfort, support, and ease of movement. They typically include adjustable seating options, supportive backrests, cushioning, and positioning accessories to ensure proper posture and prevent discomfort or pressure sores. The chairs are designed with safety in mind, incorporating features like seat belts, secure harnesses, and anti-tip mechanisms.
Child mobility chairs come in different forms to accommodate different needs. They can range from manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and adaptive strollers to customized mobility devices tailored to meet specific requirements. The choice of mobility chair depends on factors such as the child’s mobility level, age, size, and individual needs.
7 tips to select the right child mobility chair
1. Assess Your Child’s Individual Needs
By carefully assessing your child’s individual needs in terms of their physical ability and consulting with therapists and experts, you can make an informed decision about the type of mobility chair that would be best suited for them. Remember that every child is unique, so it’s essential to take into account their specific requirements when choosing a mobility chair.
Consider consulting with a physical therapist or occupational therapist who specializes in pediatric mobility equipment. These professionals have extensive knowledge about different types of chairs available in the market and can provide valuable insight into what type of chair would best meet your child’s specific needs.
Additionally, it is vital to consider insurance coverage and funding options when choosing a mobility chair for your child. Some insurance policies may cover certain types of chairs while others may not. It’s important to understand what is covered by your insurance and explore alternative funding options if needed.
2. Consider Mobility Limitations and Support Requirements
It’s essential to carefully consider the child’s specific limitations when selecting a suitable mobility chair. Consider factors such as the child’s motor skills, walking ability, and overall strength to determine the appropriate type of chair. For example, you should consider whether a child is able to sit independently or if they require additional support. This will help determine whether a power wheelchair or manual wheelchair would be more suitable.
In addition, think about any communication devices or other support requirements that the child may need while using the wheelchair. For example, if the child relies on a communication device or requires additional medical equipment, such as oxygen tanks or feeding pumps, you’ll need to ensure that the chosen chair can accommodate these accessories.
Your healthcare provider will have knowledge of available resources and expertise in assessing your child’s mobility needs. By working together with them, you can ensure that you make an informed decision that meets both your child’s current requirements and anticipates any future changes in their mobility status.
3. Determine Weight and Height Requirements
When choosing a child mobility chair, it’s crucial to consider weight limits and height requirements. Different chairs are designed to accommodate various weights and heights, so it’s important to find one that can adequately support the child.
You should also take the child’s psychosocial development into account. Children grow quickly, both physically and emotionally, so it’s necessary to choose a chair that can adapt as they progress through different stages of development. An adaptive wheelchair should be able to accommodate changes in weight and height over time. It should also provide adequate support for the child’s posture, ensuring comfort and proper positioning.
4. Evaluate the Intended Use of the Chair
To fully appreciate the potential benefits of the chair, envision how it can enhance your child’s daily activities and provide them with newfound independence. By evaluating the intended use of the chair and considering future needs, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your child’s mobility and independence in the long run.
While evaluating the intended use of the chair, it is crucial to consider what activities will the child engage in while using the chair:
- Will they primarily use it indoors or outdoors?
- Will they need to navigate tight spaces or rough terrains?
- Will your child require it for short periods, such as during school hours or outings?
- Or will they need it for longer durations throughout the day?
Think about the duration of use for the chair. This consideration will help determine factors like comfort level and adjustability options. It’s important to choose a chair that provides adequate support and cushioning to ensure your child remains comfortable during extended periods of use. Look for chairs with adjustable features like seat depth and height adjustments, as well as removable components that can be replaced as needed.
5. Indoor vs. Outdoor Use
There are wheelchair options specifically designed for mobility indoors. These chairs are typically lightweight and have smaller wheels, allowing for easy maneuverability in tight spaces such as hallways and doorways. They may also have features like lower seat heights or removable armrests to facilitate transfers.
On the other hand, if your child enjoys spending time outdoors or participating in sports activities, you might want to consider a wheelchair that is suitable for outdoor use. Terrain wheelchairs or all-terrain wheelchairs are specially designed to handle different types of surfaces like grass, gravel, or uneven terrain. These chairs often have larger wheels with more traction to provide stability and prevent getting stuck. They may also come with additional features such as suspension systems or anti-tip bars to ensure safety on rough terrains.
Remember that while considering indoor vs. outdoor use is essential, it’s also worth looking into chairs that offer versatility for both settings if needed. Ultimately, finding the right balance between functionality and accessibility will help your child achieve greater independence in their daily life activities while ensuring their safety and comfort.
6. Transportability and Portability
A lightweight and compact chair will be much easier to transport in your vehicle or carry around when needed. Some chairs even come with folding mechanisms or removable parts, allowing them to be easily stored in smaller spaces.
Look for chairs that have intuitive designs and require minimal effort or tools when adjusting or folding them. A portable child mobility chair should also be user-friendly and simple to set up and disassemble. This way, you can spend less time struggling with the chair and more time enjoying activities with your child.
7. Comfort and Functionality
When choosing the right chair, consider the level of comfort it provides. Look for features such as adjustable seat cushions and backrests, as well as padded armrests and footrests. These elements can make a big difference in ensuring your child remains comfortable during extended periods of use.
Functionality is another key aspect to consider when selecting a child mobility chair. Look for chairs that are easy to maneuver and operate, with intuitive controls that can be easily accessed by both the child and caregiver. Consider the chair’s weight capacity and stability to ensure it can support your child’s specific needs. Additionally, look for chairs with versatile positioning options, such as tilt-in-space or reclining features, which can provide added comfort for your child throughout the day.
Shop For Child Mobility Chairs
By using a child mobility chair, children can experience increased mobility, independence, and accessibility. They can participate in social activities, play with friends, attend school, and explore their surroundings with greater ease. Mobility chairs also play a significant role in promoting physical development, self-esteem, and overall well-being for children with mobility challenges.
The REAL child mobility chair has been tailor-made to address the needs of children with special needs, allowing them to perform their everyday activities with greater ease than ever before. By providing both passive and active support, the chair’s design ensures children can keep a proper posture while still enjoying freedom of movement. This way, they can improve their quality of life and enjoy their childhood to the fullest.