A power wheelchair makes it possible to get out and about and tend to everything on your daily to-do list. Your occupational therapist and wheelchair supplier have helped you select your chair and made sure that you have the skills needed to use it.
Now that you have it, your power wheelchair needs to be maintained and operated safely — like any other piece of machinery. Familiarize yourself with all the components — from backrest to controls and footplates — and know how to use them. Here are some key safety tips to keep in mind when using your power wheelchair.
- Your lap belt or harness should be secured any time you’re using your power chair.
- Make sure your feet are securely on the footplates. Never try to stand on them or allow anyone else to.
- As for how fast you should travel, follow your occupational therapist’s recommendations. Most city traffic laws, however, specify that you cannot travel faster than 4 miles per hour.
- If you plan to be out at night, front and back lights and reflectors are a good idea.
- When you’re stationary, make sure the brakes are on.
- Avoid leaning beyond the armrests or bending over to pick up anything.
- Be mindful of your battery. You should be able to travel seven miles or so on one charge, but if you’re going over hilly terrain or it’s very cold, your battery might not last that long. Avoid mud and gravel as much as possible, as this will strain your wheelchair’s motor.
When you get into your wheelchair, make sure the power is off, and the footrests are swung away. Get into your wheelchair, following your occupational therapist’s instructions. Re-position your footrests, and fasten your lap belt or harness.
When you get out of your wheelchair, turn off the power and make sure the footrests are swung away. Undo your lap belt or harness. Exit the wheelchair, following your therapist’s instructions. Put the chair on charge, and make sure it’s out of the way so that it doesn’t pose a safety hazard.
Follow these key safety tips and your wheelchair will serve you well for a long time. Have questions about using your wheelchair or other mobility equipment? Contact Power Mobility & Lifts in Phoenix. We serve clients throughout Arizona, and we’re happy to help you with your mobility requirements.
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