Shopping for wheelchair accessible vehicles should not be approached like any other purchase decision; every person has different needs, so it’s important that a list of must-have features be compiled prior to beginning your search process.
Children with cerebral palsy relying on wheelchairs require special seating designed specifically to their individual needs and conditions; it can make an immense difference in terms of health and quality of life.
Adaptive seating provides numerous health and wellbeing benefits. According to this website – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/equipment-people-disabilities, it can prevent deformities, enhance skin and tissue integrity, stabilize posture and optimize functionality, as well as assist with musculoskeletal issues like bone fractures or osteoarthritis. Adaptive seating has also been proven to enhance lung function – something a good idea for those reliant on sitting for breathing purposes.
To ensure you find an appropriate adaptive seat for your child with cerebral palsy (CP), it’s essential to work with an experienced Mobility Specialist. They will assist in understanding all available options and recommend equipment tailored specifically to their individual needs, while helping assess price ranges and features to narrow down options further. In addition, Mobility Specialists can compare side entry vehicles versus rear entry vehicles to help determine which is most suited to your family.
Where able-bodied people use seat belts to secure themselves in vehicles, chair users must utilize a restraint system or docking mechanism called a docking mechanism to keep their chair securely attached to the vehicle. Also referred to as tie down systems or docking devices or chair belts, these crash-tested devices ensure that they meet the same safety standards required of car, truck and van seat belts.
Research has demonstrated that many wheelchairs contain features which impede proper seat belt fitting, including closed-front arm supports – like the ones discussed at this link – and other adjustable seating features that obstruct shoulder belt contact with riders and lap belt paths on wheelchairs. Individuals with limited dexterity or range of motion may have difficulty applying and releasing conventional seatbelts.
After creating your wish list of must-have features, it’s time to search for vehicles that meet them. Make your own WAV checklist that you can build a list of dream vans on and their accessories as well as explore various conversion type options and lifts available so as to narrow your selections down even further.
Ramps provide chair users with an efficient means of entering and exiting vehicles in wheelchairs. When not in use, ramps fold away neatly beneath the floor for storage purposes and are easy to service or replace when shopping for used vans. Be mindful when searching for one with too high or expensive ramps!
When you’re selecting the wheelchair accessible vehicle that best meets your needs, be sure to inquire about safety features like wheelchair securement systems and occupant restraint systems. Both these features provide additional safeguards during crashes by keeping wheelchair users and passengers safely anchored and should be tested before purchasing used WAV vehicles for sale or even new ones. These straps or harnesses provide similar protection as regular seat belts do for car seats with extra attention paid to any mechanical parts the chair may need secured.
Safety systems, which may incorporate docking systems or are connected via straps to the wheelchair, are required in most private vehicles that can accommodate wheelchair users, as well as large transportation vehicles (i.e. buses or vans) – all of which have documented safety ratings that you can check with manufacturers about.
No matter the purpose, when looking for wheelchair friendly mats to enhance an entryway or yard walkway it is crucial that they can easily be transported and are durable. Coir matting may look appealing; however, its bristle-like fibers make turning difficult; similarly ribbed metal matting snags easily on wheelchair wheels making maneuverability challenging.
Inside the vehicle, opt for commercial-grade carpet with low fiber counts that won’t get caught in front coasters or bunch up underneath wheelchairs, preventing falls and potential accidents. Choose darker colored rugs to hide wheelchair tire marks.
Protection mats provide outdoor wheelchair access paths, to-and-from your vehicle, with an effective solution – helping prevent damage caused by heavy wheelchair and vehicle traffic while improving traction and safety. With some having convenient roll-out designs, they’re easily transportable for quick clean-up jobs with their clear option preserving the lawn’s natural aesthetics.