I’m afraid of toppling over in my wheelchair; what can I do?

December 7, 2015 | 11:02 am | By Pants Up Easy

Adjusting to life in a wheelchair can be a bit humbling. Tasks you could previously accomplish alone now require a helping hand, and previously mundane errands like travelling to the store suddenly become more challenging.

You’re also confined to that wheelchair, which isn’t so bad – as long as you’re on solid ground. But what about rolling over rough or bumpy terrain? Or what happens if you go to fast and lose control? That’s when you could end up toppling over in your wheelchair, and that could lead to serious injury. If nothing else, it will really ruin your day.

So how can you avoid falling over when in your wheelchair? We’ve got some tips to help you out:

Consider adding “wheelie” bars

This pair of wheelchair attachments are equipped to the bottom of your wheelchair, and they act as a safeguard against toppling over backward or forward. Although many veteran wheelchair users choose to go without these, we strongly advise new wheelchair users to give them a chance, at least for a while. If you never end up using them, they can be taken off relatively quickly and painlessly.

Always know how to operate your brakes

Believe it or not, many long-time wheelchair users like to take these off as well. And while that seems reckless, these folks usually have pretty firm control over their chairs. For the less experienced user, we recommend leaving the brakes right where they are. You should practice using them in case of a situation where you find yourself rolling out of control – those brakes could be the difference between a safe stop and ending up on the floor. They also help prevent rolling backward when transferring.

Be careful when carrying things on your wheelchair

Many folks like to place a bag or backpack on the back of their wheelchairs, for convenient storage on the go. However, if that bag is too heavy, it can easily cause the chair to topple backwards, especially during transfer. Therefore, try to place the bag on the wheelchair before climbing aboard – that will allow you to see if the chair can support the bag’s weight without you on it.

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