Wheelchair users all over Canada deserve the exact same type of access to locations and facilities as everyone else who doesn’t use a mobility solution. This is why it’s vital for public places to be equipped with wheelchair ramps, elevators and or vertical platform lifts. With that said, it’s also important that wheelchair users attain safe transport from one area to another. And, in many cases, that requires a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Such vehicles, as you’re likely aware, come with sliding doors and automatic ramps that offer wheelchair users easy access inside. Of course, once inside the vehicle, a wheelchair user needs to be safely secured. Let’s take a look at how to ensure safety while inside a wheelchair accessible vehicle, shall we?
Secure the wheelchair user in his/her chair.
We all wear seatbelts for a reason. They keep us secured to our seats in the event of a dangerous incident on the road. Before a wheelchair user enters a vehicle, however, he/she should be safely secured in the wheelchair. This, according to WheelchairTransit.com, is what will ensure a person from sliding out of the chair.
“The pelvic belt should also be inside the chair and not wrapped around the frame of the mechanism,” informs the website, “Aside from properly positioning the belt, it’s also important to make sure that this is strong enough to hold a person in case of a powerful impact, just in case.”
Be sure to lock the wheels.
It’s super important that the wheel locks are in use when the wheelchair is inside the vehicle. Their entire purpose is to lock the wheels so there is no chance of unwanted rolling when in the vehicle. On behalf of Invacare, Annie Beth Donahue explains that wheel locks should never be used as brakes or to slow down a chair in motion. They’re best used when the chair is meant to be stationary.
“When you transfer, make sure both wheel locks are in use,” she insists, “Also make sure they are completely locked, even if that takes a little extra muscle. If you don’t fully lock them, your chair can still slide.”
While this should be an obvious tip, it requires an explanation nonetheless. Even with a wheelchair user secure in his/her chair and with the wheels locked, the same rule applies for all passengers of all vehicles. Fasten your seatbelt!
“When securing a person in a wheelchair inside a vehicle, it is a must to use the seatbelt properly,” advises WheelcharTransit.com, “The seatbelt must go around the shoulder and the lower pelvis instead of just being wrapped around the abdominal area. The latter can cause a person to tip over or to get seriously injured in case of a car accident.”
Of course, it’s always important to start off by choosing the right wheelchair for you. If you’re finding the process difficult, the team at Advantage Home Health Solutions would be happy to help you make the right selection. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!