Pediatric wheelchairs come in several sizes and models. The size list is based on age.
1) Small child wheelchair is for ages six and under.
2) Child/Junior or are for ages six and over.
3) Growing Pediatric wheelchairs grow with the child.
4) Specialty wheelchairs are specially modified for specific needs.
Most pediatric wheelchairs are made out of aluminum; some are steel framed. Aluminum is both light and strong enough to support a child's weight. More than with adult chairs, the seats are often contoured or molded to hold the child securely. The seats are filled with foam, air, polymer, and/or gel. The seats are 14 to 16 in wide.
The pediatric chairs are ordered according to wheel base, height and width of back, length of legs to footrests, length of arms to the wheels, or how one is able to control a mechanical chair. Weight is taken into consideration as well for seat width. Growing kids often get too big for their chairs, which are why the newer wheelchairs are coming out with “growth kits” - hardware extensions that permit the chair to accommodate bigger kids.
Wheelchair designers are trying to make wheelchairs easier to maneuver for caregivers. There is also a new seat safety device for wheelchairs to be easily secured in buses and vans. They are making advances in the materials that are used to make the cushions that will are stain resistant and stand up better over time. New gadgets include removable foot rests, elevating foot rests, and foot rests that will swing to the side to meet patient needs; for ease of access when getting in and out of the chair, or to elevate legs and feet due to swelling.
Models that are lighter and look sporty are being made for teens. Bright colors are being employed. The seat cushions and foot rests can be color coordinated and changed as often as the user likes with extra cushions and other accessories. Personalization has come to wheelchairs.
Motorized wheelchairs are being improved upon to make the wheelchair bound more independent. New high-tech wheelchairs can climb stairs, stand a person upright, and lift up the occupant's height to be even with a tabletop or counter. They have anti-tilt bars put on the chairs so they do not tip backwards. Manufacturers offer different brake designs to match the capabilities of the user. There are wheelchairs that recline for the comfort of the patient; these are often most used with quadriplegics, as they have to relieve the bottom area from pressure to avoid broken skin. Wheelchairs are becoming easier to use, lighter, safer, and have more options to make the growing wheelchair dependent population more independent.