August 30, 2013

Safety Tips For Transporting A Person In A Wheelchair

A person might have need for a wheelchair if their movements are restricted due to certain factors, such as an inborn health problem or disability, or a condition or injury brought about by a vehicular accident or other bad incidents. Nevertheless, being in a wheelchair should never hinder a person from doing what they like. By helping themselves and also with the help of others, they can still be mobile. But transporting disabled or injured individuals in wheelchairs can be very risky. Hence, every safety precaution must be heeded.

1. Finding the Right Wheelchair

Safety heavily relies on the wheelchair that a person is using. Any problems or flaws regarding the device can seriously impact not only the health of the individual who is using it, but also his life. Therefore, this mechanical chair must have the following features – it must provide adequate support; it must be able to properly secure the person using it, and it should work flawlessly so that the individual on it will be able to move it around effortlessly.What other characteristics should one look for in a wheelchair? If a person is planning to buy one, here are some features that he must carefully examine: arms, seat, backrest and footrest. The fit must also be comfortable and the chair must be able to bear the weight of the user.

2. Securing the Individual on the Chair

Some cars and school buses are built to easily fit a wheelchair or two. Before a person in a wheelchair is placed inside a vehicle, he must first be properly secured on his chair first. This will prevent the person from sliding off of it. The pelvic belt should also be inside the chair and not wrapped around the frame of the mechanism. 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.

3. Securing the Person in the Vehicle

When securing a person in a wheelchair inside a vehicle, it is a must to use the seatbelt properly. 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. It is a must to properly protect a person in a wheelchair because any road traffic incident, however minor it might be, could cause him grave head or neck injuries or this could also make his present condition worse.

4. Using Postural Supports If Needed

Some people might need postural supports when traveling in their wheelchairs. These tools help in improving comfort while in transit. However, these should not be the only things that protect a person from injury in case of a car crash. If needed, the use of head support or neck collars should also be encouraged.

5. Having a Driver with Proper Training

Anyone who regularly drives individuals in wheelchairs, especially school bus operators who often transport students in such chairs, must have proper training. This way, they’ll know how to properly secure the individual to the wheelchair and the chair to the vehicle. It is also important to drive more slowly to prevent getting into a car accident.


Liz Henry. “My wheels are in the mud”. March 9, 2009. Online image. Flickr. August 23, 2013.

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