Fact Sheet on Wheelchairs for Children

Introduction

A wheelchair isn't just a wheelchair anymore. A generation ago, the word "wheelchair" conjured up the image of a boxy, shiny steel frame and vinyl upholstery. There would have been little or no discussion of finding the proper fit for a wheelchair, either. If a child needed a chair, little attention was paid to the fact that he or she was growing; the solution was simply to order a larger chair and let the child "grow into" it. No longer! Now there are almost as many wheelchair styles, colors, and options available as there are children to use them. Many manufacturers offer models specifically designed to meet the changing needs of children, while others offer both child and adult models of chairs in their product lines. This fact sheet will explore the special considerations in selecting wheelchairs for children, or pediatric wheelchairs, and the many kinds of chairs and alternatives available to meet those requirements.

Selecting a Wheelchair - The Basics

The first consideration in selecting the appropriate chair is the child's needs based on his or her age, disabilities, and abilities. Professional wheelchair prescribers, such as physical or occupational therapists and physicians, make some of the initial decisions of the selection process. They determine how much support the chair must provide, how it will be propelled, and what special features and adaptations are needed. Decisions such as these determine whether the child uses a manual chair, powered chair or a wheelchair alternative, and whether special seating systems or supports are needed.

Children and their parents must actively participate in the selection process. These individuals are most aware of the environment and circumstances in which the wheelchair will be used. They can best answer important questions such as-

The answers to these questions help determine the best chair for the child.

Finally, the child's personal tastes and interests should also be considered. A wheelchair is not simply something a child needs to use; it is an extension of his or her personality. Being comfortable with a chair is more than how it feels to the body; it must also feel comfortable to the personality. Depending upon their age, children should be actively involved in selecting the style, color, and features of their chairs from among the options available to them.

Wheelchair Components

Wheelchairs are available in two basic types: manual and powered. Both types have some common components, including frames, seating systems, upholstery, brakes, wheels and tires, footrests, and armrests.

Frames

Wheelchair frames are made of a variety of materials, including stainless steel, chrome, aluminum, aircraft aluminum, titanium, chrome alloys, and other lightweight composite materials. The materials used in the frame determine the wheelchair's strength and capacity. The development of newer materials such as titanium and composites has allowed for lighter weight frames than the traditional stainless steel. Regardless of the materials used, frames are generally available in folding and rigid styles. Folding frames utilize a crossbrace system that allows the wheelchair to be collapsed for storage or transport. Rigid frame chairs do not fold, but many have quick-release wheels and/or axles to allow the wheels to be removed easily for storage and travel. Children's wheelchairs often come with a variety of color options for frames, which may include bright neon colors and patterns as well as solid primary colors and the traditional chrome finish.

Seating Systems

Seating systems are frequently selected separately from the wheelchair itself, although some wheelchairs include seating or posture support systems. If the seating system is ordered separately from the chair, it is essential to ensure the frame is compatible with the seating system being considered. Seating must also fit the child. Typically, children's wheelchair seats are 10 to 14 inches wide. Seat width and length (depth) may be fixed or adjustable. Some models come in one seating size, while many allow the purchaser to choose from a range of seat widths and depths. Some chairs also provide growth capability, enabling the chair seat to be adjusted within a specified width and/or depth range to accommodate growth.

Upholstery

Upholstery must be rugged enough to withstand daily use and a variety of weather conditions. A number of materials are currently available, including nylon, velour, polyester, vinyl, and leather. Like frames, upholstery can be found in a variety of colors and styles to meet individual preferences.

Brakes

Brakes on manual chairs are usually wheel locks applied manually as "parking brakes." Several styles are available, but most brakes are applied by toggling with a pushing or pulling motion. Brakes can be mounted at different heights depending on the user's needs, and brake lever extensions and other modifications are often available. Powered chairs usually feature electromechanical and/or dynamic brakes. Dynamic brakes engage when the chair is not powered in forward or reverse motion. Chairs with push-handles often have attendant brakes as well as wheel locks that can be used by the person sitting in the chair.

Wheels and Tires

Wheels and tires are available in a variety of types and styles. Most wheelchairs use a four-wheel system comprised of two large wheels with tires in the back and two smaller casters in the front. Wheels are generally aluminum or molded composites. The most common rear wheel is 24 inches in diameter, but other wheel sizes are available. Most chairs are equipped with pneumatic tires, but several other types are also available. Tire options include mag (oversized width) tires, off-road tires, steel-reinforced radial tires, semi-pneumatic tires (a combination of solid rubber and air-filled tubing), and solid tires (tires without air space or tubes). These tires are extra-cost options on most chairs. A typical caster is 8 inches in diameter with solid or pneumatic tires. Some manufacturers offer smaller casters for specialized use.

Footrests

Footrests are usually incorporated into the frame of a rigid frame chair. Folding chairs offer a range of options including fixed, detachable, swing-away, or elevating legrests, or legrests featuring a combination of these elements.

Armrests

Armrests are generally available in full- and desk-length styles, and may be detachable, height-adjustable, flip-up, have a combination of features, or be fixed. Some chairs, especially lightweight or sports models, are designed to be used without armrests.


Controls (Powered Chairs and Scooters)

Powered chairs generally include as a standard feature a manually controlled joystick to regulate the chair's speed and direction. However, most manufacturers offer customized control options to accommodate the varied abilities of the user, including sip-n-puff systems, head and chin switches, push-button controls, trackballs, and tillers. Many chairs also have programmable control features which allow the user or a dealer to adjust or set the chair's speed and control limits as the user's abilities change. There are also manufacturers who do not make wheelchairs, but who offer specialized control systems for powered wheelchairs, including voice-activated controls. When purchasing controls and switches from a source other than the chair's manufacturer, it is essential to determine that the selected control is compatible with the chair.

Drive System (Powered Chairs and Scooters)

The drive system refers to the means by which power is delivered to the chair's wheels. Standard drive systems include gear drive, direct drive, and belt drive. The type of drive system affects the power available to propel the chair and the amount and type of maintenance the chair requires.

Batteries (Powered Chairs and Scooters)

Batteries are a determining factor in the range and power of a powered chair. Generally, the larger the chair's batteries, the greater the power and the longer the chair's range between charges. Many chairs require two rechargeable 12-volt batteries. Most wheelchairs utilize U1, group 22 or 24 batteries, although other batteries are also used. More manufacturers are designing chairs around the group 24 battery because it affords a longer range. The type of battery required is also an important consideration in terms of safety, maintenance, and transport. Powered chairs may utilize lead acid, gel cell, or sealed wet batteries. Gel cell batteries require the least maintenance and have less danger of leaking than do the other battery types. Gel cell batteries are also required by a number of airlines when transporting powered chairs.

Types of Wheelchairs and Wheelchair Alternatives

Manual Wheelchairs

Manual wheelchairs are available in several types and styles for children. Most are propelled by the user's arm, but some chairs with a lower, or hemi, frame are designed to be propelled by the user's legs. Manual chairs range in price from approximately $1,000 for a basic chair to more than $5,000 for a customized lightweight chair, with the average price range being $1,800 to $2,800. Price is affected by the number and kinds of options selected and any custom or individualized modifications.

Most manual wheelchairs for children fall into one or more of the following basic categories:

Figure 1: IVC 9000 Jymni from Invacare children's standard wheelchair.
Figure 1: The IVC 9000 Jymni from Invacare is a standard or everyday wheelchair.
Standard/Everyday Wheelchairs

Standard/Everyday chairs are the more traditional wheelchair styles featuring a folding crossbrace frame, swing-away and/or elevating footrests, fixed or detachable armrests, and a mid-level or high back with push handles to allow someone other than the child to propel the chair. Frequently these chairs are also available with a variety of standard and optional features and custom modifications.

Child/Junior/Growing Wheelchairs

Child/Junior/Growing wheelchairs are designed to meet the needs of children as they change and grow. Because of the high cost of replacing a chair, and because insurance providers often place limitations on how frequently chairs may be replaced, purchasing a new chair each year can be financially prohibitive, if not impossible. Growth chairs or chairs with growth kits allow adjustments to be made in the existing chair to accommodate a growing child. This may include utilizing replaceable components or designing the chair with features that can be converted from a smaller size to a larger size. More manufacturers are also responding to the needs of children in having chairs that fit more easily into their environment and social situations. In some chairs this is accomplished by a more streamlined appearance, while others provide a selection of upholstery and/or frame colors. Depending upon the manufacturer, color choice may be a standard feature of the chair or it may be an option offered at an extra charge.

Figure 2: The Little Dipper child's manual wheelchair with optional growth kit.
Figure 2: The Little Dipper from Colours In Motion is a child's manual wheelchair with an optional growth kit.
Lightweight Wheelchairs

Lightweight wheelchairs have frames made of lighter materials such as aluminum, titanium, or chrome. Originally developed for racing and wheelchair sports, these chairs have become increasingly popular as daily use chairs because they offer a sportier appearance and independence of movement with minimum effort, and are easier to transport. Lightweight chairs typically weigh less than 30 pounds without legrests and/or wheels. Some models have folding frames, some have rigid frames, and a few offer a choice of frame styles.

Sport Wheelchairs

Sport wheelchairs come in a variety of configurations designed for specific sporting activities. For example, one model designed for the use in wheelchair contact sports such as wheelchair rugby or football features a wide front-end "hammer-head" made of aluminum tubing. Other popular sport configurations include racing and basketball chairs. All-terrain chairs have rugged frame and wheels that can roll safely over many unpaved and irregular surfaces. Many sport wheelchair manufacturers offer custom design, including custom children's sizes.

Standing Wheelchairs

A child who needs or wants assistance to stand may be interested in a standing wheelchair, a manual or powered wheelchair equipped with a power lift to raise the child to a standing position. Some mobile standing frames (frames for holding a child upright, equipped with caster wheels) are available with a standing wheelchair option that includes a seat and big wheels for propulsion.

Figure 3: Levo Kid child's standing wheelchair.
Figure 3: Levo Kid from Levo USA is a child's standing wheelchair.
Reclining/Tilt-In-Space Wheelchairs

Reclining wheelchairs and tilt-in-space wheelchairs are available for children unable to sit upright for sustained periods or who need to change position without leaving their chair. In a reclining chair, the back reclines independently of the rest of the seating system, while in a tilt-in-space chair the back, seat, and legrests all move together, allowing the child to tilt back without losing balance. These features are available separately, or, in some models, together.

Transport Wheelchairs

Transport wheelchairs are designed to be pushed by a parent or attendant. They have push handles, with brake controls located within the attendant's reach. On some models, the brakes are located on the rear wheels to enable a caregiver to toggle them using a foot.

Figure 4: Lite Rider child's transport chair.
Figure 4: The Lite Rider from Convaid Products is a child's transport chair.

Other specialty chairs meet specific needs of the user. In some cases, these needs are met by special modifications to a basic chair; for example, some wheelchair models offer the option of specially modified wheel/axle drives to allow a child who is an amputee or who has paralysis on one side to propel a wheelchair with one hand, while others offer an optional hemi frame. Wheelchairs of all the types listed above may be available in transit models equipped to be tied down safely in buses or vans.

For more information on manual wheelchairs, including models for adults as well as children, see ABLEDATA's Fact Sheet on Manual Wheelchairs.

Powered Wheelchairs

It was once thought that children lacked the necessary skills to use a powered chair, and that using a powered chair might inhibit the development of other skills. More current research indicates - as with any other new skill - supervised practice enables children to operate powered chairs successfully and that for some children, using these chairs is actually a benefit in conserving energy and increasing self-esteem for the development of other skills.

Figure 5: Chairman Koala Miniflex child's powered wheelchair.
Figure 5: The Chairman Koala Miniflex from Permobil is a child's powered wheelchair.
Two Types of Powered Wheelchairs

Powered chairs fall into two basic categories - traditional and modular.

The traditional style looks much like a standard/everyday chair, and generally incorporates a drive system with a battery beneath or behind the seat. These traditional-style pediatric models offer features similar to those found on manual wheelchairs such as desk- or full-length armrests and swing-away detachable legrests, and an array of options and custom modifications. Some models are lightweight, including lightweight sports chairs with power options, and others are designed to grow with the child.

A modular powered chair option for the pediatric wheelchair user is the powered base with an affixed seating system. This type of wheelchair may allow a greater choice in seating systems and powered features. Some chairs of this type allow the seat to be raised to various heights above the floor or to be lowered to floor level, while others offer power reclining and tilt-in-space features. Some chairs also offer a choice of bucket, flat, padded, or sling backs and seats.

Like manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs of all types may be available in transit models equipped to be tied down safely in buses or vans.

Selecting a Powered Wheelchair

Cost is a major consideration when deciding if a powered chair is appropriate for a child. Powered chairs are rarely priced at less than $4,000 and may cost $12,000 or more, depending upon options and custom modifications.

When selecting a powered chair, consideration should be given to the issues discussed earlier in this fact sheet (see "Selecting a Wheelchair - The Basics"); however, there are several additional concerns that are unique to powered chairs. First, it is necessary to determine whether a powered wheelchair is the best option for the child's particular needs and abilities. A child who requires independent mobility but is unable to propel a manual chair is a candidate for a powered chair. Physical and developmental factors such as posture, coordination, and visual perception should also be taken into account.

In addition, it is essential to evaluate the environment in which the child will use the chair. While architectural accessibility is a concern for any wheelchair user, the concern is even greater with powered chairs; the environment in which a powered chair is to be used must be totally accessible and free of barriers. Because of their weight and design, powered chairs generally cannot be tipped or lifted to negotiate steps or other barriers. Halls and doorways must be sufficiently wide to accommodate the larger turning radius of powered chairs. Some chairs may be most appropriate for indoor use, and others for outdoor use.

Because powered chairs are very heavy and may not fold or conveniently break down, the means by which the chair will be transported must be given special consideration. Other factors to consider are the types of batteries and charger used and whether they are included with the chair; the speed of the chair; and its maximum range per battery charge.

ABLEDATA also offers a Fact Sheet on Powered Wheelchairs, which discusses powered wheelchairs for adults as well as children.

Strollers

For very young children or older children who cannot propel themselves in a wheelchair, a stroller may be a suitable alternative. Models similar to conventional strollers are available, as well as all-terrain strollers, beach strollers with balloon wheels, and adolescent strollers. Many models fold for transport or storage, or feature quick-release axles to allow easy removal of the wheels. Depending upon the manufacturer, positioning supports may be available, as well as a choice of upholstery, frame and upholstery colors, and accessories such as canopies or umbrellas.

Figure 6: Eco-Buggy stroller.
Figure 6: The Eco-Buggy stroller from Otto Bock.
Figure 7: The Traveler Stroller.
Figure 7: The Traveler Stroller from Wenzelite.

Convertible strollers or strollers with modular seating systems allow for more varied use. Some manufacturers offer strollers that convert to a sitting chair, a backpack frame, a child safety car seat, a high chair, or a combination of these. Convertible and modular strollers also may be equipped with a variety of standard features and options including trays, canopies, harnesses, and supports.

Scooters

Scooters are powered three-wheeled carts with seats. They are available in smaller sizes for children and small adults. These are not to be confused with recreational scooter boards. With a price range of approximately $1,500 to $3,500, these are somewhat less expensive alternatives to manual or powered wheelchairs, but not all wheelchair users will be able to use scooters. Scooters generally require good upper body strength and arm function; users should also be able to support themselves in an upright, seated position for extended periods. A scooter is an especially useful alternative for children with some walking ability who need to extend their range of mobility. Wheelchair tie-downs in public transportation are not designed for use with scooters, nor are some wheelchair lifts.

Figure 8: The RT Express Jr. scooter .
Figure 8: The RT Express Jr. from Amigo Mobility is a scooter for small adults or larger children.

Scooters have some similarity in appearance and operation to a golf cart. A seat is mounted on the chassis with a steering column positioned in front of the user. The steering column, or tiller, includes controls for the speed and direction of the vehicle; other controls may also be mounted on the tiller, or they may be located on a dashboard. Some users feel that these mobility aids have the advantage of being more aesthetically pleasing than some wheelchairs, and they may offer greater speed and distance range than some powered chairs. Most scooters have a narrower wheelbase and narrower overall width than powered chairs, affording greater maneuverability. Most models also disassemble into components for transport. Scooters generally offer such optional features as carrying baskets, crutch or cane holders, powered seat lifts, seat belts, and padded seats and armrests. Some models also offer key-lock starters, headlights, tail lights, and horns.

ABLEDATA offers a Fact Sheet on Scooters with information on scooters for adults and children.

Carts: Another Wheelchair Alternative

Hand-propelled or powered carts are another alternative for children with physical disabilities. They resemble children's toy carts with supportive seating. The child sits near ground level with legs outstretched; leg supports or foot straps may also be available.

Figure 9: The Go-Kart powered cart for children.
Figure 9: The Go-Kart from Innovative Products is a powered cart for children with disabilities.

Wheelchair Standards

Different models of wheelchairs may be compared by using to the standards approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in cooperation with the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). The ANSI/RESNA wheelchair standards establish uniform requirements for products as well as procedures for information disclosure and consistent measurement of such qualities as wheelchair strength, weight, and stability. The standards themselves are highly technical documents. A two-volume set of all 21 revised standards is available for $550 from RESNA, 1700 North Moore Street, Suite 1540, Arlington, VA 22209 USA; (703) 524-6686; www.resna.org.

Funding Sources

No matter what type of wheeled mobility assistance is chosen, it is always a major investment. Assistance with finances is dependent upon available medical insurance and/or eligibility for medical or social services or income support available from a variety of sources. The ABLEDATA Informed Consumer's Guide on Funding Assistive Technology is available to assist individuals in exploring funding options.

A Good Start . . .

This ABLEDATA fact sheet is an introduction to the vast amount of information available on children's wheelchairs and wheelchair alternatives. In addition to our fact sheets on powered wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, and scooters, ABLEDATA also offers an Informed Consumer's Guide to Wheelchair Selection. This publication includes a resource section listing further reading about choosing a wheelchair and making model comparisons.

Information on specific wheelchair models is available from ABLEDATA. The ABLEDATA database of assistive technology provides information about and descriptions of more than 21,000 currently available products for people with disabilities. ABLEDATA offers information on all types of wheelchairs currently available in the United States, as well as information about manufacturers and distributors. All ABLEDATA publications and the ABLEDATA database of assistive technology are available on the ABLEDATA Web site at http://www.abledata.com.

Manufacturers and Distributors

The following companies sell wheelchairs or wheelchair alternatives for children. For each manufacturer or distributor, we have provided full contact information (including street address, telephone [voice unless otherwise noted] and fax numbers, e-mail address, and Web address) and a brief list of the brands sold.

Achievement Products for Children
P.O. Box 9033
Canton, OH 44711 USA
Telephone: 800-373-4699 toll free or 330-453-2122.
Fax: 800-766-4303 toll free.
Web site: http://www.specialkidszone.com.
Products:

Also sells products from Baby Jogger, Maclaren, and Sammons Preston Rolyan.

Altimate Medical Inc.
PO Box 180, 262 West First Street
Morton, MN 56270 USA
Telephone: 800-342-8968 toll free or 507-697-6393.
Fax: 507-697-6900.
E-mail: info@easystand.com.
Web site: http://www.easystand.com.
Products:

Alvema AB
Ågårdsvägen 23
342 22 Alvesta, Sweden
Telephone: 011-46-472-43130.
Fax: 011-46-472-47107.
E-mail: info@alvema.se.
Web site: http://www.alvema.se.
Distributed in the U.S. by Sammons Preston Rolyan.
Products:

Amigo Mobility International, Inc.
6693 Dixie Highway
Bridgeport, MI 48722-9725 USA
Telephone: 800-248-9131 toll free or 517-777-0910.
Fax: 800-334-7274.
E-mail: info@myamigo.com.
Web site: http://www.myamigo.com.
Product:

AmySystems - U.S. office
178 West Service Road
Champlain, NY 12919 USA
Telephone: 888-453-0311 toll free.
Fax: 877-501-8458.
E-mail: service@amysystems.com.
Web site: http://www.amysystems.com.
Products:

Assistive Technology Inc.
21279 Protecta Drive
Elkhart, IN 46516 USA
Telephone: 800-478-2363 toll free or 574-522-7201.
Fax: 574-293-0202.
E-mail: info@pvcdme.com.
Web site: http://www.pvcdme.com.
Products:

Baby Jogger Company
PO Box 2189
Yakima, WA 98907 USA
Telephone: 800-241-1848 toll free or 509-457-0925.
Fax: 509-453-7732.
E-mail: sales@babyjogger.com.
Web site: http://www.babyjogger.com.
Products:

BeachStrollers.com
PO Box 1350
Berlin, MD 21811 USA
Telephone: 410-251-1396.
E-mail: beachstrollers@hotmail.com.
Web site: http://www.beachstrollers.com.
Products:

Berg Design
18770 Rigert Rd.
Aloha, OR 97007 USA
Telephone: 800-832-2376 toll free or 503-649-7922.
Fax: 503-591-9435.
E-mail: runabout@teleport.com.
Web site: http://www.bergdesign.net.
Products:

Colours In Motion
1591 S. Sinclair Street
Anaheim, CA 92806 USA
Telephone: 800-892-8998 toll free or 714-978-1440.
Fax: 714-978-2891.
Web site: http://www.colourswheelchair.com.
Products:

Columbia Medical Mfg. LLC
13368 Beach Avenue
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA
Telephone: 800-454-6612 toll free or 310-454-6612.
Fax: 310-305-1718.
Web site: http://www.columbiamedical.com.
Products:

Convaid Products Inc.
PO Box 4209
Palos Verdes, CA 90274 USA
Telephone: 888-266-8243 toll free or 310-618-0111.
Fax: 310-618-8811.
E-mail: convaid@convaid.com.
Web site: http://www.convaid.com.
Products:

Cyclone Mobility and Fitness Equipment
Unit 5, Apex Court, Bassendale Road
Croft Business Park
Bromborough CH62 3RE United Kingdom
Telephone: 011-44-151-346-2310.
Fax: 011-44-151-346-2311.
Web site: http://www.cyclonemobility.com.
Products:

Drive Medical Design and Manufacturing
12 Harbor Park Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050 USA
Telephone: 877-224-0946 toll free.
Fax: 516-988-4601.
Web site: http://www.drivemedical.com.
Products:

Eagle Sportschairs
2351 Parkwood Rd.
Snellville, GA 30039 USA
Telephone: 800-932-9380 toll free or 770-972-0763.
Fax: 770-985-4885.
E-mail: bewing@bellsouth.net.
Web site: http://www.eaglesportschairs.com.
Products:

Enabling Devices
385 Warburton Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706 USA
Telephone: 800-832-8697 toll free or 914-478-0960.
Fax: 914-479-1369.
E-mail: info@enablingdevices.com.
Web site: http://www.enablingdevices.com.
Products:

Etac AB
Kista Science Tower, Färögatan 33
SE-164 51 Kista, Sweden
Telephone: 011-46-8-692-07-00.
Fax: 011-46-8-653-18-70.
E-mail: info@etac.se.
Web site: http://www.etac.com.
Distributed in the U.S. by Snug Seat.
Products:

ExoMotion LLC
945 Hildebrand Lane, Suite 120
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 USA
Telephone: 206-842-0955.
Fax: 858-712-0840.
E-mail: info@exomotion.com.
Web site: http://www.exomotion.com.
ExoMotion LLC is U.S. distributor for EaSys Pediatric Strollers from Thomashilfen fur Behinderte GmbH.

Freedom Designs, Inc.
2241 Madera Road
Simi Valley, CA 93065 USA
Telephone: 800-331-8551 toll free or 805-582-0077.
Fax: 805-582-1509.
E-mail: nancy@freedomdesigns.com.
Web site: http://www.freedomdesigns.com.
Products:

Gendron Inc.
400 E. Lugbill Road, PO Box 197
Archbold, OH 43502 USA
Telephone: 800-537-2521 toll free or 419-445-6060.
Fax: 419-446-2631.
E-mail: sales@gendroninc.com.
Web site: http://www.gendroninc.com.
Products:

Global Power Systems, Inc.
2703 Corrinado Court
Fort Wayne, IN 46808 USA
Telephone: 800-554-8044 toll free.
Fax: 260-482-4866.
E-mail: sales@globalpowersystems.com.
Web site: http://www.globalpowersystems.com.
Products:

Gunnell Inc.
8440 State Street
Millington, MI 48746 USA
Telephone: 800-551-0055 toll free or 989-871-4529.
Fax: 800-794-5483 toll free or 989-871-4563.
E-mail: info@gunnell-inc.com.
Web site: http://www.gunnell-inc.com.
Products:

Hotshot Products
1920 Del Amo Blvd. #A
Torrance, CA 90501 USA
Telephone: 310-533-5911.
Fax: 310-533-1971.
E-mail: b1hotshot@hotshotproducts.org.
Web site: http://www.hotshotproducts.org.
Products:

Innovative Products Inc.
830 South 48th Street
Grand Forks, ND 58201 USA
Telephone: 800-950-5185 toll free.
E-mail: jsteinke@iphope.com.
Web site: http://www.iphope.com.
Products:

Invacare Corporation
One Invacare Way
PO Box 4028
Elyria, OH 44036 USA
Telephone: 800-333-6900 toll free or 440-329-6000.
E-mail: info@invacare.com.
Web site: http://www.invacare.com.
Products:

Jason Marine Enterprises Inc.
4311 NW 64th Avenue
Coral Springs, FL 33067 USA
Telephone: 888-773-3537 toll free or 954-346-5240.
Fax: 954-346-5240.
E-mail: seeker1097@aol.com.
Web site: http://www.jmeseeker.com.
Products:

Kool-Stop International, Inc.
P.O. Box 3480
La Habra, CA 90632 USA
Telephone: 800-586-3332 toll free or 714-738-4971.
Fax: 714-992-6191.
E-mail: ksicalifornia@sbcglobal.net.
Web site: http://www.koolstop.com.
Products:

Levo USA Inc.
PO Box 3869
Peachtree City, GA 30269 USA
Telephone: 888-538-6872 toll free or 770-486-0033.
Fax: 770-486-6096.
E-mail: request@levousa.com.
Web site: http://www.levousa.com.
Products:

Lifestand USA / Independence Providers, Inc.
97 Old Route 6, Suite 13
Carmel, NY 10570 USA
Telephone: 800-782-6324 toll free or 845-228-1625.
Fax: 845-228-1629.
E-mail: info@lifestandusa.com.
Web site: http://www.lifestandusa.com.
Products:

Maclaren USA, Inc.
4 Testa Place
S. Norwalk, CT 06854 USA
Telephone: 877-442-4622 toll free or 203-354-4400.
Fax: 203-354-4410.
E-mail: maclaren@snet.net.
Web site: http://www.majorstrollers.com.
Products:

MedBloc
700 Ensminger Rd., Suite #112
Tonawanda, NY 14150 USA
Telephone: 888-433-6818 toll free or 716-447-0050.
Fax: 888-433-6834 toll free or 716-447-0030.
E-mail: info@medbloc.com.
Web site: http://www.medbloc.com.
MedBloc is the U.S. distributor for Motion Concepts.
Products:

Meyra (Wilhelm Meyer GmbH & Co.)
Meyra-Ring 2
D-32689 Kalletal, Germany
Telephone: 011-49-05733-922-0.
Fax: 011-49-05733-922-143.
E-mail: info@meyra.de.
Web site: http://www.meyra.com.
Products:

Motion Concepts
84 Citation Drive
Concord, Ontario, Canada, L4K 3C1
Telephone: 905-695-0134.
Fax: 905-695-0138.
E-mail: info@motionconcepts.com.
Web site: http://www.motionconcepts.com.
Distributed in the U.S. by MedBloc.
Products:

Mulholland Positioning Systems Inc.
215 North 12th Street, PO Box 391
Santa Paula, CA 93061 USA
Telephone: 800-543-4769 toll free or 805-525-7165.
Fax: 805-933-1082.
E-mail: webmaster@mulhollandinc.com.
Web site: http://www.mulhollandinc.com.
Products:

Otto Bock Health Care
Two Carlson Parkway North, Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55447 USA
Telephone: 800-328-4058 toll free or 763-553-9464.
Fax: 763-519-6153.
E-mail: info@ottobockus.com.
Web site: http://www.ottobockus.com.
Products:

Permobil USA
6961 Eastgate Blvd.
Lebanon, TN 37090 USA
Telephone: 800-736-0925 toll free.
Fax: 800-231-3256 toll free.
E-mail: info@permobilusa.com.
Web site: http://www.permobilusa.com.
Products:

PlainSense Wheelchairs, Inc.
201 Skiff Trace
Peachtree City, GA 30269 USA
Telephone: 770-632-5782.
Fax: 770-486-0031.
E-mail: jim_papac@plainsense-wheelchairs.com.
Web site: http://www.plainsense-wheelchairs.com.
Products:

Position Dynamics
2636 289th Place
Adel, IA 50003-8021 USA
Telephone: 800-695-0081 toll free or 515-993-5001.
Fax: 800-695-1468 toll free.
Web site: http://www.positiondynamics.com.
Products:

Quantum Rehab, a division of Pride Mobility Products Corp.
182 Susquehanna Avenue
Exeter, PA 18643 USA
Telephone: 800-800-8586 toll free.
Fax: 800-800-1636 toll free.
Web site: http:// www.quantumrehab.com.
Products:

R82 A/S
Parallelevej 3
Gedved, Denmark 8751
Telephone: 011-45-79-68-58-88.
Fax: 011-45-75-66-51-92.
E-mail: r82@r82.dk.
Web site: http://www.r82.com.
Distributed in the U.S. by Snug Seat.
Products:

Redman Power Chair
4790 North Keet Seel Trail
Tucson, AZ 85749 USA
Telephone: 800-727-6684 toll free.
Fax: 877-550-1277 toll free.
E-mail: info@redmanpowerchair.com.
Web site: http://www.redmanpowerchair.com.
Products:

RGK Wheelchairs
Units 8b/c Chasepark Industrial Estate Ring Road
Chasetown, Staffordshire WS7 3JQ
United Kingdom
Telephone: 011-44-1-543-670077.
Fax: 011-44-1-543-670088.
E-mail: info@rgklife.com.
Web site: http://www.rgklife.com.
Products:

RJ Mobility Ltd.
Boy Lane
Wheatley, Halifax, HX3 5AF United Kingdom
Telephone: 011-44-1422-358888.
Fax: 011-44-1422-355924.
E-mail: enquiry@rjmobility.com.
Web site: http://www.rjmobility.com.
Products:

Sammons Preston Rolyan, An Ability One Company
4 Sammons Court
Bolingbrook, IL 60440-5071 USA
Telephone: 800-323-5547 toll free or 630-226-1300.
TT: 800-325-1745 toll free.
Fax: 800-547-4333 toll free or 630-226-1389.
E-mail: spr@sammonsprestonrolyan.com.
Web site: http://www.sammonsprestonrolyan.com.
Products:

Also sells products from Baby Jogger, Crusaire, Maclaren, Otto Bock, and R82/Snug Seat.

Snug Seat, Inc.
12801 E. Independence Blvd.
PO Box 1739
Matthews, NC 28106 USA
Telephone: 800-336-7684 toll free or 704-882-0668.
Fax: 704-882-0751.
E-mail: sales@snugseat.com.
Web site: http://www.snugseat.com.
Snug Seat is owned by the Danish company R82 A/S, and is U.S. distributor for the Swedish company Etac AB.
Products:

Sunrise Medical
7477A East Dry Creek Parkway
Longmont, CO 80503 USA
Telephone: 888-333-2572 toll free or 303-218-6279.
Fax: 303-218-3855.
Web site: http://www.sunrisemedical.com.
Products:

TEFTEC Corporation
12450 Network Boulevard
San Antonio, TX 78249 USA
Telephone: 888-234-1433 toll free or 210-477-0330.
Fax: 210-477-0329.
E-mail: teftec@teftec.com.
Web site: http://www.teftec.com.
Products:

Theradyne Healthcare Products, a division of Kurt Manufacturing Company
395 Ervin Industrial Drive
Jordan, MN 55352 USA
Telephone: 800-328-4014 toll free or 763-502-6190.
Fax: 800-458-7864 toll free.
E-mail: kurt-theradyne-cs@kurt.com.
Web site: http://www.theradyne.com.
Products:

Thomashilfen für Behinderte GmbH & Co. Medico KG
Walkmühlenstrasse 1
Bremervörde, D-27432 Germany
Telephone: 011-49-4761-8860.
Fax: 011-49-4761-88619.
E-mail: info@thomashilfen.de.
Web site: http://www.thomashilfen.de.
Distributed in the U.S. by ExoMotion LLC.
Products:

TiLite
1426 East Third Avenue
Kennewick, WA 99337 USA
Telephone: 800-545-2266 toll free or 509-586-6117.
Fax: 866-586-2413 toll free or 509-586-2413.
E-mail: customerservice@tilite.com.
Web site: http://www.tilite.com.
Products:

Tuffcare, Inc.
3999 East La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92807-1714 USA
Telephone: 800-367-6160 toll free or 714-693-8668.
Fax: 714-632-3998.
E-mail: contact@tuffcare.com.
Web site: http://www.tuffcare.com.
Products:

Wenzelite Rehab
220 36th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232 USA
Telephone: 800-706-9255 toll free or 516-998-4600.
Fax: 718-768-8020.
E-mail: webmaster@wenzelite.com.
Web site: http://www.wenzelite.com.
Products:

This list includes all the manufacturers of children's wheelchairs and wheelchair alternatives listed in the ABLEDATA product database as of September, 2004.
The records in the ABLEDATA database are provided for information purposes only. Neither the U.S. Department of Education nor Macro International Inc. have examined, reviewed, or tested any product, device, or information contained in ABLEDATA. The Department and Macro International Inc. make no endorsement, representation, or warranty express or implied as to any products, device, or information set forth in ABLEDATA.

Publications

Publications on Wheelchairs for Children

Fisher, Janice, "Speeding Ahead," Rehab Management, Vol. 16, No. 8, October 2003, pp. 24-26, 55.
http://www.rehabpub.com/features/102003/3.asp.
This article describes powered wheelchair training at the Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, D.C., where, the author reports, children are trained early to encourage cognitive development.

Furumasu, Jan (editor), Pediatric Powered Mobility, Arlington, VA: RESNA Press, 1997, 94 pages.
This book provides philosophy, clinical approaches, research and resource information for all persons interested in providing powered mobility to children of all ages.

Furumasu, Jan, Donita Tefft, and Paula Guerette, "Pediatric Powered Mobility: Preliminary Results of a National Survey of Providers," pp. 216-218 in R. Simpson (ed.), Proceedings of the RESNA 25th International Conference: Technology and Disability: Research, Design, Practice and Policy, Arlington, VA: RESNA Press, 2002.
This paper presents results from a national survey of powered wheelchair providers, conducted to determine existing practices in the provision of powered wheelchairs to young children. Information gathered included the demographics and background of service delivery practitioners, frequency of evaluations, reasons for not recommending a powered wheelchair, and reasons why a child who is recommended for a powered wheelchair does not receive one.

Jones, Maria A., Irene R. McEwen, and Laura Hansen, "Use of Power Mobility for a Young Child with Spinal Muscular Atrophy," Physical Therapy, Vol. 83, No. 3, March 2003, pp. 253-262.
http://www.ptjournal.org/PTJournal/Mar2003/v83n3p253.cfm.
The case study examines the effects of providing a powered wheelchair for a 20-month-old girl with type II spinal muscular atrophy resulting in severe motor impairments. Within six weeks of receiving the chair, the child could operate it independently and explore her local environment.

Kinross, Louise, "What You Should Know About the First Wheelchair," Exceptional Parent, Vol. 31, No. 4, April 2001, pp. 39-43.
http://www.eparent.com/technology/mobility/firstwheelchair.htm.
This article offers information for parents who are selecting their child's first wheelchair. It highlights questions parents should ask and describes some of the key wheelchair parts and features.

Meyers, Marta, "The Saga of the New Wheelchair (or How to Fight Your Insurance Company and Win)," Directions, Winter/Spring 2000.
http://www.fsma.org/powerchair2.shtml.
The mother of a child with spinal muscular atrophy recounts her experiences dealing with an HMO to obtain funding for a standing wheelchair for her son. The article originally appeared in the Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Wisconsin chapter newsletter.

Nilsson, Lisbeth M. and Per J. Nyberg, "Driving to Learn: A New Concept for Training Children With Profound Cognitive Disabilities in a Powered Wheelchair," American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT), Vol. 57, No. 2, March/April 2003, pp. 229-233.
The authors describe the positive effects of powered wheelchair training for two preschool-age children with profound cognitive disabilities. Although the children were unable to achieve the usual goals of powered wheelchair training, purposeful and safe driving, they did become more aware of their environment and readier to interact with it.

Robinson, Richard, "Choosing a Wheelchair: It Takes Teamwork," Quest, Vol. 4, No. 2, March/April 1997.
http://www.mdausa.org/publications/Quest/q42wheel.html.
The author discusses issues involved in choosing a child's wheelchair, and highlighting the value for parents of consulting professionals.

Schneider, Lawrence W., "New Developments in Safer Transportation for Wheelchair Users," Exceptional Parent.
http://www.eparent.com/technology/mobility/safer_transportation.htm.
This article describes the basic issues involved in transporting a person in a wheelchair in a motor vehicle. It describes recent safety advances and new standards on wheelchair crashworthiness.

Schneider, Lawrence, "Transporting Children in Wheelchairs," Exceptional Parent.
http://www.eparent.com/technology/mobility/mobility.htm.
The author presents guidelines for safe transportation of children who use wheelchairs, based on research and testing at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute that evaluated wheelchair "tie-downs" for all types of automobiles.

Wiart, Lesley, Johanna Darrah, Al Cook, Vivien Hollis, and Laura May, "Evaluation of Powered Mobility Use in Home and Community Environments," Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2003, pp. 59-75.
This study determined the characteristics of children and adolescents who received powered wheelchairs before age 18, and examined patterns in their use and disuse of powered wheelchairs over time.

General Publications

ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Standards, two volumes, Arlington, VA: RESNA Press, 1998.
Volume 1 covers requirements and test methods applying to all wheelchairs and scooters; Volume 2 covers additional requirements for wheelchairs and scooters with electrical systems.

Axelson, Peter, Jean Minkel, and Denise Chesney, A Guide to Wheelchair Selection: How to Use the ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Standards to Buy a Wheelchair, Washington DC: Paralyzed Veterans of America, 1994.
This book provides useful information on wheelchair standards and test procedures in a consumer-friendly format. By explaining how to use the information disclosed by test procedures, the book can help wheelchair users be more informed when selecting a wheelchair.

Karp, Gary, Choosing a Wheelchair: A Guide for Optimal Independence, Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1998.

For an updated list of publications on wheelchairs and other assistive technology products for children with disabilities, go to the AT Library at the ABLEDATA Web site, http://www.abledata.com.

Resources

Boundless Playgrounds
45 Wintonbury Ave.
Bloomfield, CT 06002 USA
Telephone: 860-243-8315.
Fax: 860-243-5854.
Web site: http://www.boundlessplaygrounds.org.
Boundless Playgrounds is a foundation dedicated to making playgrounds fully accessible to children with disabilities.

Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD)
Academy for Educational Development (AED)
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20009-5721 USA
Telephone: 202-884-8068.
Fax: 202-884-8441.
E-mail: fctd@aed.org.
Web site: http://www.fctd.info.
The Family Center on Technology and Disability serves organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities by offering a range of information and services on the subject of assistive technology (AT) for the use of organizations, parents, educators, and interested friends.

Internet Resources for Special Children (IRSC)
Web site: http://www.irsc.org.
The Internet Resources for Special Children (IRSC) Web site provides links to information resources relating to children with disabilities, including other sites as well as recent news articles and books. The section on Adaptive Equipment and Technologies includes a page of links on wheelchairs. IRSC also hosts on-line communities where questions can be asked and answered and where people with similar concerns can make connections.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013 USA
Telephone: 800-695-0285 toll free.
Fax: 202-884-8441.
E-mail: nichcy@aed.org.
Web site: http://nichcy.org.
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, formerly called the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY), provides information related to the education of children with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. Its focus areas include IDEA, the nation's special education law; the No Child Left Behind program as it relates to children with disabilities; and research-based information on effective educational practices.

PACER Center (Parent's Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights)
Simon Technology Center
8161 Normandale Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55437-1044 USA
Telephone: 952-838-9000.
TT: 952-838-0190.
Fax: 952-838-0199.
E-mail: pacer@pacer.org.
Web site: http://www.pacer.org.
The mission of the PACER Center is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. Its Simon Technology Center provides parents with services, resources, and information on technology for children with disabilities. One of the Simon Center's projects is the SUPER Service, which connects people seeking to buy used assistive technology with sellers.

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Technology for Children
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
7503 Bonita St.
Downey, CA 90242 USA
Telephone: 562-401-7994.
Fax: 562-803-6117.
E-mail: info@ranchorep.org.
Web site: http://www.ranchorep.org/rerckids.htm.
This Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), conducts research aimed at improving the lives of children with orthopedic disabilities. One of its current projects is to evaluate a model for the provision of powered mobility to young children.

USA TechGuide
United Spinal Association
75-20 Astoria Boulevard
Jackson Heights, NY 11370 USA
Telephone: 718-803-3782
Fax: 718-803-0414.
E-mail: info@unitedspinal.org.
Web site: http://www.usatechguide.org.
The USA TechGuide is an Internet guide to wheelchairs and assistive technology, with reviews of specific wheelchair models, including children's wheelchairs, written by caregivers and professionals. It is sponsored by the United Spinal Association, formerly the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association.

Wheelchair Junkie
Web site: http://www.wheelchairjunkie.com.
This site, owned and operated by Mark E. Smith, has information for consumers on many aspects of powered and manual wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories, including product reviews written by wheelchair users. One of its pages is "Speedsters! A Complete Resource for Children's Powerchairs."

Whirlwind Wheelchair International (WWI)
San Francisco State University
School of Engineering
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132 USA
Telephone: 415-338-6277.
Fax: 415-338-1290.
E-mail: whirlwind@sfsu.edu.
Web site: http://whirlwind.sfsu.edu.
Whirlwind Wheelchair International (WWI) is the communications hub of the Whirlwind Wheelchair Network of independent wheelchair-producing workshops in developing countries. Its Web site includes information on a project to design a wheelchair base appropriate for children in developing countries.

Winners on Wheels (WOW)
302 E. Church St.
Lewisville, TX 75057 USA
Telephone: 800-969-8255 toll free.
Fax: 559-291-3386.
E-mail: info@wowusa.com.
Web site: http://www.wowusa.com.
WOW empowers kids in wheelchairs by encouraging personal achievement through creative learning and expanded life experiences that lead to independent living skills. The WOW Connection is a bi-monthly newsletter that is sent to Winners all over the USA.

For an updated listing of organizations and other resources for people with disabilities, go to the ABLEDATA Web site, http://www.abledata.com.

This fact sheet was researched and written by Katherine A. Belknap, revised and updated by David G. Johnson, and produced by ABLEDATA. ABLEDATA is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) under contract number ED-02-CO-0038 and is operated by ORC Macro.
ABLEDATA
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 930
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
Telephone: 800-227-0216 toll free in the U.S.;
301-608-8998 local call in the Washington, D.C. area.
TT: 301-608-8912.
Fax: 301-608-8958.
All ABLEDATA publications, the ABLEDATA database of assistive technology, and other ABLEDATA resources are available on the ABLEDATA Web site, http://www.abledata.com.
© 2004, ORC