Most parents will purchase a stroller for their child at some point. It's an invaluable accessory for getting around with a child or baby. But choosing the right stroller can be difficult. There are hundreds of different designs and styles available, all with their own advantages. Picking the best stroller for you and your child can certainly be a complicated task, but the choice is further complicated if your child has special needs.
Selecting the right stroller for a child with special needs can make a significant difference to their quality of life. There are a number of factors you should consider when selecting your stroller and deciding on what adaptions or customisations it may require.
Getting the Right Fit
Strollers, like wheelchairs, are designed with specific weight and size capacity limits. Many models are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate children from newborns through their school and young teen years.
Selecting a stroller that is designed for your child's size, weight, and age will ensure the stroller is both comfortable and safe. However, you should also consider the ability of the stroller to expand and adapt to your child and their needs as they grow. Purchasing an adaptable stroller is not only a good idea from a financial perspective, but also serves to maintain a consistent experience and feel for the child as they grow.
Ensuring Adequate Support
When your child has special needs they will often require additional support to maintain a sitting posture and be comfortable in their stroller. The right support will allow your child to engage with the world.
The basic level of support will be provided by an upright stroller, and these will also often be the cheapest option. They do not, however, provide good support for the head and upper torso so are unsuitable if the child struggles with muscle control in their upper body, head, and neck regions. Due to their upright nature, they are also best suited to short trips as they do not allow the child to be reclined to rest.
For children with more complex needs, it may be necessary to select a stroller with more support and additional features such as tilt or recline. Strollers with tilt and recline can aid in supporting the child's head and trunk, while also aiding with digestion (especially during tube feeding), breathing, and joint pressure and pain. Tilt and recline strollers are perfect for long and short trips alike, allowing the child to relax and even sleep comfortably and with ease.
It's best to discuss the exact support requirements your child might need with their Occupational or physical therapist before speaking with our team.
Usage and Terrain
The support and comfort of the stroller is not the only factor that should be considered when selecting and customising a model. You should also consider where you intend to use it and what you intend to use it for.
Some strollers are designed primarily for a leisurely walking pace (around town for example), and will therefore not be suited for rough terrain such as seen in woodland or rural settings, or for use while exercising. Strollers designed to handle rougher terrain will generally have a wider wheelbase and chunkier, knobbly tyres to provide better grip. Exercised strollers have a lightweight design, ergonomic handles, and in some cases shock absorbers to make running and jogging easier on both you and the child.
A final point to consider when selecting a stroller is how you will be transporting it. The additional support and features required by a disability stroller can add substantial weight and bulk. This may not be an issue if you plan to walk everywhere, however, it should be considered if you intend to take the stroller in the car or on public transport.
If you intend to transport the stroller regularly, you may want to look at a stroller that can easily collapse and fold to fit easily in your car or on public transport where space may be limited.
How Can GTK Help?
At GTK we offer a wide range of strollers designed to suit any need. We are experts in providing customised service to every customer to ensure they receive a stroller tailored to their unique requirements. We work closely with each client to select a suitable base model, and then identify any modifications or adaptions that may be necessary.