Pediatric wheel chairs are fashioned much like adult wheel chairs. The number of styles, types, and colors of pediatric wheel chairs available on the market today is both comforting and overwhelming, especially to a parent trying to choose the right one.
Pediatric chairs provide independence and mobility for children with a number of physical challenges. Children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, head injuries, or who have had a limb removed all benefit greatly from a pediatric wheel chair. Some children have the option of using their wheel chair occasionally in lieu of their walker or crutches, whereas others are in a wheel chair full time.
Manual wheel chairs are most often chosen for children who have the upper body strength and dexterity to push the wheels of their own chair. Manual chairs are also a good choice if a parent or caregiver will be aiding the child with their mobility. For children physically unable to move their chair under their own strength or have severe disabilities, there are pediatric power wheel chairs available as well.
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Pediatric wheelchairs are categorized by a child’s age, size, and physical requirements.
· Specialty Chairs – customized to fit specific needs of the child.
· Small Pediatric Chair – designed especially for children who are under six years old or younger (sometimes appear as a stroller).
· Growing Pediatric Wheelchairs – for children six years old and up; feature cross braces that can be replaced to accommodate the child as she grows.
· Sport Wheel Chairs – lightweight and colorful; allow child to participate in sports or simply for daily use.
· Standing Pediatric Wheel Chair – this uniquely styled chair allows children who have use of their legs, (but still require a wheel chair), to stand up and participate in activities or stretch out at any given time.
· Standard Pediatric Chairs – manual wheelchairs that look much like an adult chair
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A pediatric chair that grows with your child will save you money over time. Components that allow you to lengthen or widen the chair will allow you to keep the same wheel chair for as many as 10-12 years, saving you from having to invest in a brand new chair each time your child grows.
Pediatric chair frames are manufactured from steel or aluminum. The aluminum frames are lighter than their steel frame counterparts and often chosen over the steel for that very reason. Contoured seats are molded to the child to ensure that the child is secure in the chair. Safety straps or bands can be attached to a wheel chair to help keep a child with limited strength in the proper position.
There are several fun wheel chair accessories available to help your child do the things she loves. Examples might include a mount for her laptop computer, a desktop for playing cards or games, cup holders, bumper stickers, colorful tote bags to hold her cell phone and school books, seat cushion covers in bright bold colors or patterns, or spoke guards featuring colors or themes.
Choosing a pediatric wheel chair can be a long process, but once you’ve made the decision, you’ll feel better knowing your child has the best chair to meet her physical needs. Consult with your physician and physical therapist for their recommendations on which style and chair is best for your child and her lifestyle.
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