Is A Crash-Tested Wheelchair Worth Buying?
If the person using a wheelchair needs to be transported in their wheelchairs when travelling in vehicles, then the answer is yes, definitely!
Generally, when choosing and procuring a wheelchair for a loved one or a care home resident, we consider their clinical need and their requirements for comfort, postural support, tissue integrity, and general mobility.
But what about other considerations, such as their social and medical needs where they need to be transported safely in their wheelchairs in a vehicle?
Safe transport then becomes a key element in a wheelchair occupant’s ability to access medical facilities as well as to improve quality of life, by being able to enjoy day trips out and holidays, and as we are increasingly receiving reports that transport providers are refusing to carry passengers in wheelchairs UNLESS they are crash tested, this becomes a crucial part of the buying decision.
ISO 7176-19, ISO 10542 standards and in particular the British Wheelchair Standards EN 12181:2009 and EN12184:2009 have given a benchmark standard to offer improved safety and protection for wheelchair users, vehicle drivers and other occupants in vehicles.
How To Get A Wheelchair Crash Tested:
If a wheelchair manufacturer permits the transportation of their wheelchair in a vehicle, then it is their responsibility to ensure that the wheelchair must have passed a crash test in accordance with the ISO 7176-19 standard as part of the manufacturing process.
It is also their responsibility to provide clear information on the safe transportation of their wheelchairs – both in the pre-sales literature and in the information for use and owner’s manual.
- To clearly disclose which of their wheelchairs comply with relevant international standards.
- To include guidance on the type or model of wheelchair tie-down and occupant restraint system (WTORS) that they recommend. This information is available from either a wheelchair or a WTORS manufacturer.
- To ensure that tie-down points on wheelchairs are clearly marked and easily accessed.
- To provide information in an appropriate and timely manner, and rectification where possible in the event of a product recall.
A Note Of Caution!
In order to gain crash certification, each manufacturer has to provide a specified number of each brand and model of wheelchair to be tested and destroyed. Some companies do not resource sufficient cash flow to do this and working with such companies should be avoided.
How Do I Know If My Wheelchair Is Crash Tested?
Wheelchairs that have been manufactured and suitably tested for secure use within a vehicle will be marked clearly on the wheelchair with anchor symbols featured on the frame of the wheelchair, similar to the image above. The icon is most commonly displayed on the front frame of the chair.
Public transport, taxis and ambulance attendants will look out for either the hook symbols on the back of the chair, or the crash tested sticker.
You can find more information on our hand selected range of crash tested wheelchairs here or to speak to one of our helpful colleagues please call us today on 01773 713713.