Those who’ve been using manual wheelchairs know the mobility limitations posed by these traditional mobility aids. They can be too challenging in some scenarios, which prevents users from experiencing their full potential.
For this reason, more and more people are now turning to electric wheelchairs for more independence and a higher quality of life.
With electric wheelchairs, individuals are able to move with ease from one area to another. It’s no longer necessary to wait for assistance or endure sore hands and upper limbs from propelling yourself individually.
Still, as with any electric-powered mobility device, safety measures are a top priority. Here are some guidelines on how you can learn about electric wheelchair safety.
What to Do Beforehand
Electric wheelchairs come with a user manual containing essential information on how to use the device. Reading the user manual helps you operate your wheelchair safely and effectively. It also helps you acquire useful information on maintaining the electric wheelchair’s parts, particularly the batteries.
So, it’s safe to say that before you get into online research or any other method of learning safety considerations for an electric wheelchair, you have to open that manual and read it carefully.
Safety Guidelines for Electric Wheelchairs
This day and age offer you plenty of avenues for learning about electric wheelchair safety practices. The following tips, for instance, can be acquired by reading articles about electric wheelchairs online or picking up a book about the said mobility device.
Thankfully, at HelpAndWellness, you will find helpful and practical tips that will keep you safe. To give you an idea, here are some safety reminders to keep in mind.
1. Use the Seatbelt
Your electric wheelchair is equipped with a seatbelt that’s meant to be used, so use it. Like an automobile seat belt, your wheelchair’s belt serves to protect you from accidents, falls, and related injuries.
2. Keep Your Extremities Within the Chair’s Framework
An electric wheelchair can be heavy and unmanageable, so you’ll want to keep your center of gravity lined up with the chair to prevent it from tipping over. Make sure your arms, feet, legs, and hands are kept within the chair’s framework so that the chair remains stabilized.
3. Steer Clear of Busy Areas
Even with an electric wheelchair, busy streets and crosswalks can still be dangerous for a mobility-challenged individual. You may have better mobility thanks to your chair, but it still won’t guarantee enough quickness for beating the light change when crossing the street. When dealing with these scenarios, request for assistance as much as possible.
4. Never Maneuver Over a Curb
Wheelchair users know that taking on curbs can spell potential disaster. Instead of maneuvering over a curb to get to the sidewalk, look for driveways and curb cuts to pass through. Even with a chair designed to scale curbs and steps, you still want to go for the safest option.
5. Be Careful Around Young Kids
Children are all about remote control vehicles, which aren’t too different from your electric wheelchair in their eyes. They’re going to be curious about how the machine operates and may reach for the control unit, possibly causing your chair to propel forward suddenly.
Make sure to constantly be alert and aware when around kids because their curiosity may get the better of them, leading to potentially dangerous situations for both of you.
6. Only Navigate Smooth and Firm Earth
Terrain with loose soil can be unsafe to navigate, so it’s always best to steer clear of these areas. If you do need to traverse them, be sure to travel slowly to prevent falls and other related accidents from happening.
Also, if a surface is too loose or slippery, an electric wheelchair may lose its traction on the ground and slow down considerably or even cease operating completely.
7. Make Sure Your Wheelchair Is Fully Charged Before Using
If not fully charged, at least make sure your electric wheelchair is adequately charged before taking it out. The batteries dying in the middle of a trip is never ideal, particularly when it happens as you’re crossing the street.
Always keep in mind your wheelchair’s range and plan your trip well to avoid ending up in these situations.
8. Be Sure the Electric Wheelchair’s Tires Are Adequately Inflated Before Leaving
Making sure your wheelchair’s tires are inflated ties into planning your journey well. Not enough inadequate air pressure will place unnecessary strain on the tires and might even cause jagged tears that can ruin the electric wheelchair. Having properly-inflated tires helps ensure maximum range and ease of use.
We know that electric wheelchairs come in different models, each with its distinct safety considerations. As such, the manual should be the first thing you access to learn about your chosen electric wheelchair’s user and safety guidelines.
Once you’ve gone over and understood the directions properly, you can refer to the above-mentioned general tips to ensure an even safer and fulfilling experience in the long run. As mentioned, you can acquire these pieces of helpful information in books and online articles.