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Wheelchair Handling Safety Tips


Pushing, pulling, and maneuvering people in wheelchairs can be awkward and strenuous to caregivers. The following Tips When Handling Wheelchairs can be shared with caregivers as training information.

  1. Regular Maintenance is very important. Keep the wheelchair in good repair and you will prevent many accidents and malfunctions.
  2. Always lock the brakes before getting in and out of the wheelchair. On power wheelchairs, always turn the power off before transferring. This can prevent someone from bumping the joystick and it saves battery juice.
  3. Don’t pull backward on doors or other objects when sitting in a manual wheelchair. A door could suddenly release and you could tip over backwards.
  4. Lift the footplates up before getting in or out of the chair.
  5. If you have a wheelchair with removable arm or leg rests, make sure they are secure by lifting the arms and gently trying to swing the leg rest away from the chair. Do this before each use.
  6. Avoid putting heavy loads on the back of a wheelchair. This could cause the chair to tip over backwards.
  7. Don’t remove the anti‐tip wheels or bars on any wheelchair. This should prevent the chair from tipping backwards.
  8. Keep loose objects or lap cover away from the wheel spokes.
  9. Don’t let children play with your wheelchair. They should be instructed to never touch your wheelchair or the controls. Don’t let them ride on the battery cases or on the footrest; these will break if you do.
  10. Use a flag if you ride in the streets. Use headlights and flashing taillights if you ride in the streets at night. Pick bright colored wheelchairs.
  11. Avoid going up or down steep inclines or slopes. You might lose control and tip your chair over.
  12. Beware of caster flutter. This is the side to side motion of the caster which usually happens at high speeds. If the casters flutter, replace them immediately.
  13. Have the programming of your power wheelchair set so that it does not go faster than you can handle, especially in reverse.
  14. Avoid riding in the rain. Wheelchairs are not waterproof and it is not safe. Controls get wet on power chairs and wheels lose traction on wet ground.
  15. Just be careful and think of ways to prevent problems before they occur. Plan ahead for emergencies such as brake failure, tipping backward or the power wheelchair moving by itself.

2 thoughts on “Wheelchair Handling Safety Tips”

  • Elevator Installer @Calgary

    Yes, I have heard of certain accidents that are connected to wheelchair handling. These safety tips will be good for all those handling it.

  • David Hawkins
    David Hawkins April 6, 2016 at 5:56 am

    There seems to be a lot more safety tips than I thought with wheelchairs. Like your tip about not having children ride on the battery is smart because of the chair breaking. I'll have to pass this info along to some people who are just starting to use a chair and need some advice. Thanks for the awesome information on wheelchairs!

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