Pediatric wheelchairs are mobility aids meant for and utilized by children. A kid may need a wheelchair for a variety of reasons. Some have sustained severe head injuries, some are amputees, some have muscular and skeletal disorders, and some just use wheelchairs in place of crutches or walkers.
The Different Categories
Most pediatric wheelchairs fall under the following categories:
- Standard Wheelchairs – These are the so-called traditional styles.
- Small Child Wheelchairs – This variety is designed for kids under the age of six.
- Sports/Lightweight Wheelchairs – These are popular for everyday use because of their sporty appearance, lightweight frames, and independent movement.
- Junior/Child/Growing Pediatric Wheelchairs – They are intended for children who are six years old and over.
- Specialty Wheelchair – These models require various alterations to a basic chair such as a tilting or reclining option.
Types of Wheelchairs For Kids
Like adult wheelchairs, the pediatric models are available in different shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. You can even have one especially designed and custom-made based on the child’s needs. You can also choose between a manually propelled and a motorized wheelchair.
Manual Pediatric Wheelchair
Manual pediatric wheelchairs are the most popular type used by kids of all ages. Motors do not propel this type of wheelchair, so either the occupant or caregiver must push the chair around. In addition, children with severe disabilities are not advised to use such kind of mobility aid since they don’t have the capacity to move without assistance.
Electric Pediatric Wheelchair
Although the motorized or electric variety is also manufactured in pediatric sizes, these wheelchairs are often custom-made according to the child’s specific needs. They are usually more expensive and tend to require more frequent replacements. Nevertheless, they offer valuable mobility assistance to kids who are old enough and are capable of propelling themselves on board a wheelchair.
Selecting A Pediatric Wheelchair
The notion that some kids require wheelchairs to perform daily – and often mundane – activities can be sad and heartbreaking. For these children, pediatric wheelchairs offer valuable access to and from places, both inside and outside of the house. The mobile chairs allow them to interact with other people as independently as they can.
Pediatric wheelchairs possess the similar designs and features of an adult wheelchair, except for the obvious modifications that must be done to accommodate the needs of the children – specifically the size. Support heads and backs, as well as safety straps, are some of the most common alterations found in the child models.
Although picking out an appropriate pediatric wheelchair for your kid may seem like an easy task, you shouldn’t be too sure about it unless you’ve covered a number of considerations. First thing’s first: If you’re not fond of the whole idea about frequently purchasing replacement units, then you better opt for one that can grow with your child. You also need to find out whether your child is capable of self-propulsion.
Many well-made units can actually last for up to ten to twelve years. Aside from that, you must ensure that the wheelchair will really go well with the prospective occupant’s personality. You also need to have your child evaluated by a professional such as a doctor or a physical therapist. They will expertly ascertain the total expenses required to make that purchase, as well as the special features that your child may tremendously benefit from. Plus, at this stage, you will also have to decide whether to get a manual or a motorized wheelchair – depending on the limits set by the child’s disability.
During the consult with the doctor, you – as the parent or guardian – should provide valuable pieces of information as to the locations and the types of activities the wheelchair is intended for. The child’s preferences and interests should also be taken into account. For instance, if your child is into sports, then a sporty wheelchair may just do the trick. You must also bear in mind that this type of mobility aid is not merely a tool. Instead, a pediatric wheelchair is also an annex of the occupant’s personality. Therefore, he or she should be given the chance to speak up about the style, colors, and features that he likes or dislikes.