A great number of chair-bound people or the ones with limited mobility found a way to experience greater independence and improve quality of life thanks to manual and power wheelchairs or scooters. However, even though using a wheelchair provides a myriad of benefits for the users, there are a couple of precautions one should undertake in order to make themselves safe and sound.
You can own a perfectly-maintained wheelchair and still not be entirely safe. The best way to prevent any accidents and injuries is to stick up to these 7 safety measures which will make the time spent in a wheelchair completely carefree.
1. Find a Chair That Meets Your Needs
Wheelchairs come in so many different sizes and shapes it would be a pity for you not to find the right one for your needs. Inspect the product well before making a purchase.
It may get a bit complicated to find the right pick among thousands of options. However, don’t go for the first one that seems right either. The key to safety while using a wheelchair is to find the exact type for a specific type of the user’s needs. An occupational therapist or a professional physician familiar with the user’s mobility and needs can help with making the right choice.
2. Stick To the Perimeter of the Chair
If you are using a wheelchair that weighs over 150 lbs, then you should be careful not to tip in certain situations. Having the chair perimeter in mind, you should keep your legs, feet, and arms within it just in case. Doing so will prevent any tipping and provide steadiness while being in the chair.
3. Don’t Share the Load
It would be great if you could prevent burdening the chair with loads, as this may cause tipping as well. Caregivers should pay attention to this as well, as shopping bags on wheelchair handles may make the wheelchair unbalanced and unsafe. Overloading the back of the chair will almost certainly make it tip backward and highly likely end up with the user’s head injury.
Sharing the ride with your grandchildren or cousins may be a fun idea, but rolling around the house with the kiddo in your lap can lead to an unsafe situation for both of you. It takes only one moment and a wrong move to lose balance and cause an injury.
4. Watch Out for Curbs
One of the greatest benefits of using a wheelchair is that you can go out almost whenever when you want. You are not confined to the space of your home exclusively. Yet, there is a reason why we say “almost whenever”. You should definitely watch out for curbs. Some wheelchairs are designed to be able to scale curbs, which is great. Yet, in case your wheelchair is not specifically designed, avoid maneuvering over curbs and uneven surfaces.
5. Electric Chairs Don’t Get Along With Water
If you own an electric wheelchair, it would be best to avoid coming out when it is raining outside. The reason for this is the almost certain traction that would put your safety into question. What is more, the water may trigger the erratic operation of the chair and possibly cause its malfunction.
6. Follow Basic Traffic Rules
There will come a time when you would get into a busy place. If you are using your wheelchair for travel purposes as well, you want to make sure that you are following some basic rules. Get familiar with the rules of the country you are visiting. For example, you would need to know whether you should drive on the right or the left side of the hallway.
7. Inspect the Tires on Your Manual Wheelchair
Not only car tires require proper inspection, but wheelchair tires also do! The principle is the same – flat tires may pose a threat to your safety. Besides tire pressure, you should take care of the thread as well. Once it gets worn out, the tires would slick and potentially cause brakes failure.
Maintaining wheelchair tires takes one more thing – fastening. Improperly fastened on tires are one of the most hazardous factors with wheelchairs. In case you removed the tires before for any reason, make sure to put them back the right way – tightened and inflated.
Wheelchairs – manual or electric, make things way easier. The ability to roll around is priceless, but that is the case with your safety. Stick to the manual of your wheelchair, as you can find much useful information about the use. In today’s article we focused on the basics, yet a bit underrated safety measures you should stick to. Using a wheelchair can facilitate your life in so many reasons, but never forget about the precautions that would ensure the smoothest rides each time.