Special strollers for special-needs kids
What is the difference between a rehab stroller and a standard stroller anyway?
Rehab strollers are designed specifically for children with disabilities. The goal is to fulfill the needs of children with different disabilities (physical, and sometimes mental ones). The rehab stroller is therefore different from a standard stroller in terms of its functionality, resilience and, to a degree, its appearance.
In general, a rehab stroller has these features:
Adjustable size, ergonomic & grows with your child
Children with disabilities need a customizable stroller to support a good sitting position. In a rehab stroller, the lower leg length, seat depth, seat width and back height, for example, can be precisely adapted to the size of the child. This helps the child to be able to sit stably. The rehab stroller can be adapted along with the body growth and development of the child.
Higher load capacity, very stable & robust
Standard strollers usually have a maximum load capacity of 25 kg and are only as stable as necessary. This is not enough for children who have to be transported in the stroller for a longer duration because of their disability. Therefore, some rehab strollers have a maximum load capacity of 50 kg; they themselves weigh more. As a result, older and heavier children – even teenagers – can be transported safely. A sturdy design is also important for spastic children, because enormous forces are released during a spastic episode. The rehab stroller must be able to withstand these forces.
Positioning in the seat and back areas
Children with special needs frequently have, for example, problems with their hips, insufficient upper body strength or spastic movements. If various adjustments are made, a rehab stroller can adapt to these problems, thus improving how children can sit in them.
Support for the head due to a headrest
When the ground is bumpy or the child is tired and sleepy while being transported, secure support for the head is very important. Especially children with poor head control need a headrest that is easy to adjust.
Removable seat that can be turned around
Due to the variety of ways that it can be adjusted, a rehab stroller is usually heavier than a standard stroller. Therefore an important function is that the seat unit can be removed from the chassis. On some models, the seat can also be easily turned around. In this way, the child can sometimes sit in the direction of travel and other times face their mother or father. If you want to be flexible here, look for a model in which the direction of view can be changed easily without tools.
Adjustable seat position
The back of the rehab stroller can usually be adjusted in such a manner that the child can be placed in the supine position. Furthermore, a rehab stroller’s seat can be tilted. This means that the seat can be fully inclined to the rear. Both possibilities are important when, for example, the child cannot sit upright for a long time, he or she takes a nap, or must lie flat every now and again due to cramps. Furthermore, children who are respirated need a supine position in the case of, for example, SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy).
Christina Steingräber, Orthopedic mechanic
Accessories for positioning & adjustment
Various rehab accessories permit good sitting and stable support: upper-body belts such as the 5-point belt, seat vests, pads, abduction blocks, soft pelvic harnesses, trays, etc. However, a 5-point belt can offer more than just stable support while sitting; good 5-point belt means increased safety for children that – because of their mental disability – could simply jump out of the stroller and run onto the road.