Thursday, 21 January 2016

Transporting A Special Needs Child

Transporting a child with special needs is a labor of love that is willingly and happily undertaken. But doing things out of love and doing them correctly and safely are two different issues. When transporting a special needs child, there are a number of specific safety factors that must be kept in mind. One of them is the type of wheelchair van that should be used.  Not all vans are the same and being sure that the right type is being used will ensure the child’s comfort and safety during the journey. Here are a few of the key considerations.

  • If a caregiver is required to be next to the child during the trip, or if the child and / or caregiver should be seated close to the driver, then a rear entry wheelchair van would be the better option.
  • If special equipment is to be transported along with the child, a side entry wheelchair van will allow for easier entry and exit as well as making storing the equipment safely for the journey easier. All equipments must be safely secured so that nothing moves. Shifting equipments could hit and injure the child.
  • If equipment that may be required for use during the trip is being carried, a self-contained power source that has a charge capacity of twice the duration of the trip (to account for any unexpected delays) should be carried. It is always preferable to power electric wheelchairs, other mobile seating devices and respiratory systems will dry cell or gel cell batteries and not lead acid ones. This will prevent the danger of the batteries leaking and causing injury other through contact with the acid or from the inhalation of the fumes.
  • Many children feel more at ease when a family member is sitting close to them in the unfamiliar surrounds of a van. Try to use a van that will allow a family member to be seated in a position so that the child knows that a familiar face is always at hand.
  • Some children are sensitive to sunlight or heat. If so, a van with tinted windows will be required.
  • If the wheel chair has a headrest, its size and position could affect where it can be positioned in the van.  Measure the dimensions of the wheelchair and try to use a van where the chair can be positioned as is best for the child’s specific needs – such as those mentioned above.
  • The driver is a key factor in any transportation arrangement. Talk to the van driver to see if he understands the needs of the child and is able and willing to tailor the driving to meet those requirements.

A special needs child should be allowed to travel as freely, safely and comfortably as possible. If this means using special medical transport services, you need to ensure that the company you are using has the experience, skills and special vehicles to do the job properly. When your child’s safety and your peace of mind depends on a service provider, never compromise. Always use a professional medical transport company.