How often should my child be in their wheelchair during the day now that we are home more?
If your child has difficulty moving and readjusting their position on their own, they may be at risk of developing long term changes to their body shape. There are different ways you can support their body to promote good body alignment. It is important to have many position changes both during the day and at night during sleep. This could include lying, sitting, and standing positions.
While learning and playing at home during this difficult time, it is also very important that your child spend time in their wheelchair seating because it may be custom designed to support them in an upright sitting position. Wheelchair seating can provide the therapeutic supports to allow your child the chance to engage in play and social interactions. In addition, this positioning can enhance body alignment in sitting and help protect your child’s skin from injury.
It is difficult to know how much time your child should be in their wheelchair during the day, but we do believe it is important to use their wheelchair a minimum of a few hours a day.
When out of their wheelchair it is important to reduce the effect of gravity and control the tone of their muscles in order to help keep their body as straight as possible. This will help support the body in a stable position. This could be done using a standing frame or using pillows, blankets, soft toys, and rolled towels when lying, sitting in a comfy chair, or sitting on a parents’ lap.
It is good idea to take your child in their wheelchair for a walk to keep the wheelchair moving and in good condition. If you have a power wheelchair, it is also very important to keep using the wheelchair so that the batteries and electronics continue to function well. And remember to charge the battery at night.
As always we are here for you, so please reach out to your clinician if you have any questions or concerns!