Ensuring Proper Wheelchair Use Is A Vital Safety Measure
Wheelchairs are among the most popular mobility solutions on the market. They’ve been around for centuries – and with good reason. These fantastic mobility devices have a long-standing track record for safety. However, it must be noted that a wheelchair can only be as safe as the way it is used.
Make Use of The Seat Belt
Many wheelchair users feel that their seatbelts are unnecessary. This is especially true for users of the manual variety. After all, a wheelchair doesn’t exactly travel at fast speeds. It’s easy to assume that a seat belt isn’t needed for maximum safety. Nevertheless, regular seat belt use is encouraged. Especially when the wheelchair user has limited upper body strength, a seat belt ensures that he/she won’t fall out of the chair.
“Seat belts are meant to keep you securely on your wheelchair seat,” affirms WeCapable.com, “If you have a reduced body balance it is recommended to use a seat belt especially when outside. It is advisable for every wheelchair user to use those seat belts to keep themselves safe especially while descending a ramp or while on an uneven surface. It’s better to be a little cautious than to get hurt.”
Negotiate Curbs with Caution
Some wheelchair users are so adept at maneuvering their chairs that they can pop wheelies over curbs with ease. While you may feel confident in handling curbs on your own, we would not recommend you do so. To maximize your safety, steer your chair around a curb until you find a ramp that enables you to safely board the sidewalk. Alternatively, accept the help of a caregiver to help you get your wheelchair over the curb.
“Curbs should only be negotiated with the assistance of an attendant,” insists Las Vegas’ Preferred Health Choice, “Curbs, steps, and stairways are dangerous obstacles that confront the wheelchair user. When you encounter these obstacles, try to find a way around them by using curb cuts, ramps or designated disabled elevators now available in most areas.”
Be Aware of Caster Flutter
Wheelchair casters are the small wheels in front of the wheelchair. They are designed to stabilize and steer the wheelchair. The drive wheels are the larger powered wheels at the back of the wheelchair. They propel the wheelchair forward. One of the biggest differences between casters and drive wheels is flutter. Flutter occurs when the casters aren’t properly aligned and start fluttering instead of providing a smooth and steady movement. This can be dangerous.
“As the small wheels attached to the front of your wheelchair base, castors are essential for smooth movement,” affirms Iora with One Medical, “Caster flutter occurs when they aren’t aligned correctly and cause the wheelchair to veer sideways at high speeds, potentially tipping you over. Seek out a professional inspection if you start noticing it.”
It should probably go without saying that when Forward Day came up with the Shower Bay portable shower, we had wheelchair users in mind. Keeping wheelchair users comfortable is a big part of our mandate. Shower Bay enables them to enter with their shower wheelchairs for safe and comfortable shower experiences.