Pediatric Mobility Assistance
Pediatric wheelchairs allow special-needs children to explore their world and participate in learning experiences. All children need to learn about their environment and discover that they are capable of doing many things for themselves; it is an important part of the growing up process. They enjoy the independence of mobility and functionality. Children may need a wheelchair because of an injury or paralysis. They may be amputees or have a medical condition that affects their body’s ability to function and move properly.
When shopping for pediatric wheelchairs, individuals should look for lightweight models for ease of handling, and those that are sturdy in construction for durability. The wheelchairs should be adjustable for children of any height or weight, and include features like flip-back arms for easing of entering and exiting the wheelchair, and padded cushions for comfort.
Here are some frequently asked questions to consider when shopping around for a mobility device for your child:
- How is it propelled?
- What is the weight capacity?
- Will the chair “grow” with the child?
- How will we be using it and how will we transport it?
- What barriers (like stairs) need to be considered?
- Is it appropriate for inside and outside use?
- Does my child like it and feel comfortable sitting in it?
Transporting a special needs child to school, doctor appointments, and other life events need not be traumatic for parents. There are many pediatric mobility aids available, including specially designed car seats, strollers with detachable seats, or specially designed strollers, and transport chairs. Caregivers should look for items that are certified safe for use with special needs children.
Bathing and Toileting Aids
Making bathing and toileting as easy, convenient, and hygienic as possible is an important part of establishing a good daily routine for caring for special needs children. Safety is paramount; look for equipment that is durable and sturdy, and will hold up under daily use.
Some types of bathing and toileting aids are:
Bath seats – look for height adjustable seats that fold for easy storage, are skid resistant, and include safety straps or a harness to hold the child securely.
Bath support aids – these aids are offer more safety for children and usually include a support system that encloses the child’s midsection.
For more functionality, many individuals choose an entire bathing system including bath chairs, and either a tub or a shower stand. Combination units that can be used for bathing, showering, and toileting are also popular and offer versatility.
Other Pediatric Mobility Aids
In addition to pediatric wheelchairs, there are also mobility devices that are specially designed for a child’s smaller size like adaptive strollers, pediatric walkers, adaptive tricycles, and assistive aids such as support slings. Whether a child needs assistance rising to a standing position, stabilization for walking, or complete support for safety reasons, there is a pediatric mobility aid to fit each individual need.
Pediatric seating and positioning aids provide support for children during seated activities, while traveling, or for those who cannot sit up unassisted. They are available in a range of styles and functionality, from freestanding portable units to motorized units.
Pediatric standers provide support for children and allow them to assume different positions to alleviate the pressure of sitting or lying for a long time. They allow children to be involved in more activities and feel more independent. Most standers are multi-positional, allowing children to be placed in upright, prone, supine, vertical, or horizontal positions. In fact, there are even mobile standers fitted with wheels to allow children to move about while standing.
Invest in Pediatric Games and Toys
Specially designed games and toys like mazes, lacing toys, blocks, shape sorters, and paints do more than just entertain children; they encourage and develop vital skills for special needs children:
- Fine motor skills
- Cognitive skills
- Problem solving
- Visual perception
- Hand to eye coordination
No matter why a child needs an assistive aid, the good news is there are many such devices from which individuals can choose. Children can walk further, increase their confidence and self-esteem, and maintain their strength and endurance.