Taking a seat in the car of your own accord and enjoying a relaxing ride – not a problem for healthy people. That is because they have good control of their body and always remain in a stable, seated position, since they automatically contract their muscles, even when braking or when driving around curves. But it is a different story for people who are unable to do so due to a health limitation. They require assistance: for instance, in the form of a special seating aid. It provides a secure hold and back-friendly seating in the car – as long as it comes with comprehensive accessories and meets the widest range of requirements.
Customised and adaptable
Unless you are affected yourself, it is hard to imagine how it is not to have control over your body. Most people simply contract just the muscles that they need for a particular situation. But many children, adolescents, or even adults who suffer from a physical or neurological disability are unable to do so. While special rehabilitation seats for children have already existed for a while, once they no longer fit, it will become a major problem for the affected persons. Without this seating support, it would be virtually impossible for them to travel in a car.
Using a special seat that is not only back-friendly but also provides various adjustment functions can help these people to continue to be mobile while on the go. The requirements are as unique as the people who wish to use the seat. As such, individuality and a comprehensive assortment of accessories are fundamental requirements for a good rehabilitation car seat, since not every function is equally important for every need. The treating doctor or therapist usually chooses the type of support required in consultation with the appointed health care supplier.
As a general rule, a rehabilitation car seat should be ergonomically shaped, provide a secure hold and, of course, be comfortable. Different needs require different customisations, and for starters, that is a secure hold. For instance, this can be ensured via the combined usage of a three-point and five-point belt. The five-point belt provides essential support to the chest and shoulder area. If a five-point belt is used, then belt fasteners should also be used. They allow the connection of belts from both systems and prevent the user from wriggling out of the belt system. A crotch belt with crotch padding prevents the body from sliding out of the lap belt (submarining effect). Another thing that is helpful is a lateral, lower belt guide for the three-point belt that can prevent legs from being crossed.
Naturally, ergonomics plays a special role, particularly due to the restriction of movement by the various adjustment options and the belt systems required for safety reasons. For this, it is important to have an adequate and adjustable back height that fits the user. As with good automotive seats, the rehabilitation seat should also have adjustable seat depth, an adequately wide seating area as well as a headrest with stepless height adjustment. Leg positioning assistance is also a fundamental feature.
A comfortable seat core is particularly recommended for long journeys. It allows for balanced weight distribution as well as optimum pressure distribution for the backside and thigh – and the same applies for back padding. A tip: Any moulded foam cores that are used should have a firmness that can be personalised to individual needs.
And even the seat climate should not be underestimated. For instance, it is ideal to have passive ventilation via woven-mesh along with breathable materials. An adjustable back angle as well as the use of a 3-point belt, optionally on the right or left, round off the comfort adjustments.
Since many people suffering the disability are used to receiving assistance when entering and exiting, it is also advisable to think about the assistants. Low lateral guidance in the rear seating area as well as an adequately wide seating area help with transferring the user, or even a turning platform to facilitate entry and exit. A low tare weight and ergonomic handling, e.g. via the seat’s fold-in function, provide valuable assistance.
Thomas Hilfen für Körperbehinderte GmbH & Co. Medico KG
Tel. +494761/88 60