Guidance on the Safe Transportation of Wheelchairs

March 14, 2022 By smith 0
Wheelchairs blog

Wheelchairs allow people with limited mobility to get around easier, giving them the freedom they want and need. However, people in wheelchairs will inevitably need help being transported from one location to another. It’s important that transportation is done as safely as possible to ensure everyone is safe.

This article will take a look at the guidance that you need to learn for the safe transportation of the best wheelchairs.

Safe Wheelchair Transportation Tips

Before getting into a breakdown of the best approaches for the various types of transportation options, here are some basic tips to stay safe during the transportation of wheelchairs: 

  • Manual and power wheelchairs have various seated postures to choose from, so be sure to refer to the manual to see how to use these postures while being transported.
  • The manufacturers should offer information about the proper usage of WTORS (wheelchair tie-down and occupant restraint system) during transport.
  • Facing the front of the vehicle is considered to be the safest position. 
  • Any detachable and mounted wheelchair equipment should be removed before transport.

Traveling by Airplane

It is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and various other laws that there be accommodations for wheelchair users. The Air Carrier Access Act actually makes it illegal to discriminate against any passenger with a disability, ensuring that people get the accommodations they need to travel safely. 

This means that airlines are required to offer a variety of different types of assistance, including wheelchair assistance to board or deplane or to connect to some other flight. There must also be seating accommodation assistance that the airline must provide, as well as help with loading, unloading, and storing assistive devices.

Traveling by Automobile

If you own your vehicle, particularly either a wheelchair-accessible van that has a lift or ramp or a sedan that has hand controls, there are 2-part dock systems you can buy. A part of the system attaches to your wheelchair, while the other part is mounted to a specific place on the vehicle’s floor. This dock can be used for either the driver or passenger. This type of system does allow for the use of the automobile’s 3-point vehicle lap-shoulder belt to keep you safely restrained in the car. However, this system does only work for specific situations, so you should do your research first. 

Traveling by Public Transportation

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that any mode of public transportation should be accessible for any passengers with disabilities. Some rules for public transportation according to the Americans with Disabilities Act includes:

  • Buses are required to have ramped entries, have 2 wheelchair stations, and need low floors (without steps).
  • The wheelchair stations should be placed underside facing benched seats towards the front of the bus, which can be flipped up as a wheelchair passenger boards. 
  • These stations must be equipped with 4-point tie-downs and a 3-point wall-mounted lap-shoulder belt.
  • This lap-shoulder belt is required to ensure that the passenger in a wheelchair is safely seated on the bus, which can prevent them from being ejected and injured should an accident occur.

Each of the various types of public transportation, including trains, subways, and buses, have their own rules for safely accommodating those people traveling in their wheelchair.

What You Need to Know for Safe Transportation of Wheelchairs 

Before anything else, you need to know a couple of things: what the needs of the person in the wheelchair are and knowing about the wheelchair that will be transported. These are both important because you need to know about the person you are transporting in addition to any information about their wheelchair. This will help the safe transportation of a wheelchair user.

Before anything else, you need to make sure that you have room to load and unload the person in a wheelchair. It’s also really important to ensure that the wheelchair is locked before you try to transfer a person. Watch out for any obstacles that may be in the way of the transferring process. These are all essential things to do for the safety of the person. It’s also crucial that you make sure that you have room to store the wheelchair and any detachable equipment because this equipment is necessary to the wheelchair user. 

There are many different types of wheelchairs that are used, which typically depend on the specific disability of the user. There are lightweight chairs, which could have a storage bag that you are able to easily fit into a trunk. There are some larger wheelchairs that may require a rack that is mounted to the bumper for transportation. Electric wheelchairs usually require a larger vehicle like an SUV or van to properly transport them.

Some things to consider when transporting a wheelchair include:

  • Is the wheelchair collapsible? If it is, how long does it take to collapse it?
  • What size is it when it’s collapsed? Does it break down into certain pieces for easier transport?
  • How much does the wheelchair weigh? 
  • Do you need more than one person to load the wheelchair?
  • Is there any other equipment to be concerned with?

While it’s important to know about the wheelchair and person, you also need to know about the vehicle you are transporting the wheelchair in. Some things to consider with your vehicle include:

  • Do you have enough space in your trunk/cargo area to transport the wheelchair?
  • If you have a truck, are you able to lift the wheelchair into the back with or without assistance? Or do you need a lift to help?
  • If you have a truck, how do you plan on securing the wheelchair in the truck bed? If you don’t secure the wheelchair, it will slide around the truck bed, and this could lead to damage.

This advice will help with transporting a wheelchair and the user can make a significant difference in their safety.

Conclusion

This guidance on wheelchair safety will help you make sure that you are transporting a wheelchair user as safely as possible. By following the advice here, you can prevent injury and ensure that people get from one point to the other without an issue. 

By Trevor Fenner

About the author:

Trevor Fenner is the founder and owner of Mobility Paradise, a one-stop shop for mobility scooters, electric scooters, electric wheelchairs, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, lift chairs, saunas, steam showers, massage tables, exercise equipment, electric bikes, massage chairs, and bathtubs. Years ago, Trevor’s grandma had an accident that made her dependent on a wheelchair; this forced Trevor and his family to put her into an elderly care facility. Since then, Trevor would visit her to take a walk around the neighborhood. Mobility Paradise was created because Trevor couldn’t find an online store that offers a wide selection of mobility equipment and educational resources. What started as a business focusing on mobility scooters grew to include all kinds of mobility products. You can shop for the most reliable mobility products at Mobility Paradise.