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Getting The Right Wheelchair For Your Child

Mar 2, 2008
Wheelchairs come in many different shapes and sizes depending on one's specific needs. However, choosing a child wheelchair can be tricky as there are many things you need to take in consideration; here are a few tips, which I hope will be of assistance when choosing a child wheelchair in the future.

Assessing The Child's Specific Needs

Most importantly, when you buy a child wheelchair the specific needs of the individual child are of paramount significance. What is the child's health? Does he or she need a lot of physical support? Or, is he or she very active? Each of these considerations will impact what type of chair is needed and what elements you include in the chair you buy.

For example, electric wheelchairs are very sophisticated. Not only are they powered by simply using a joystick or other device, but you can adjust things like seating position with the touch of a button. This is useful for a child, for example, who gets frequent pressure sores or needs to have seating adjusted frequently in order to remain comfortable. In addition, of course, the joystick feature for wheelchair operation is of paramount importance in order to give independence to a child who has limited mobility. On the other hand, for a child who has a lot of upper body mobility and does not need a lot of back or head support, a manual chair may be the best choice. Lightweight sport models are very maneuverable by hand, and can provide a very active child with the tools to participate fully in most physical activities, including sports. They are also very lightweight and easy to transport, unlike electric wheelchair models, which are heavy and cannot be easily folded and placed in a car trunk or backseat.

Use Caution When Purchasing A Powerful Child Wheelchair

Of course, price is probably not of the most importance when you consider what type of wheelchair best suits your child. Of greater importance is the fact it meets your child's needs as fully as possible, while providing them the most mobility they can have. For children's wheelchairs, keep in mind that if you need to purchase a power wheelchair, the motor should be significantly powerful enough to carry the child through his or her day at adequate speeds to keep up with his or her peers, such as when they are playing or running, and without having to recharge the battery more than once per day. On the other hand, make sure your child can adequately and safely manage the wheelchair so as not to injure him or herself, or others. Just like any powered vehicle, an electric wheelchair is not a toy, and must be managed prudently to avoid injury.

You should note that today, many wheelchairs come with the ability to grow and adapt as your child does. For example, you can start out with a chair that has lower speed controls and exchange them for more powerful ones as your child grows and can handle a more powerful wheelchair.

Purchasing A Child Wheelchair

As with any medical device, wheelchairs aren't cheap, especially electric ones. Even manual chairs usually run approximately $2000, and electric ones are proportionately more expensive. However, if you're not able to afford one, there are programs and/or financing available to help you purchase one that best fits your child needs regardless of financial status.

Contact a wheelchair manufactures or retailer and they will be more then happy to assist and walk you through any and all the formalities in order to get your child wheelchair as soon as possible.
About the Author
For more information on wheelchairs, visit us at http://www.wheelchariot.com
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