Clothing Solutions & Accessories
If you are a wheelchair user having the right equipment can make getting out and about so much easier and more comfortable – especially in the unpredictable British weather. A good waterproof wheelchair cover is essential. Fledgling supplies a range of different covers, adapted for wheelchair use. These are all waterproof and come in different styles to suit different needs: some are fleece lined, others are designed so they can be folded away and popped on and off quickly when they are needed. Others encase the lower body for extra warmth and have easy access zip fronts.
Capes: these garment have no sleeves and come with a hood. They are designed to be easy to pull over the head and drape over the body and wheelchair. They are waterproof but unlined. The advantage is that they will fold away in a bag until needed, ideal for rainy days. If the weather is cold the wearer would need warm clothes or a fleece poncho underneath.
Waterproof wheelchair covers with sleeves: similar to the capes in that they are intended to cover the body in rainy weather but they incorporate sleeves - ideal if the user needs their hands free and wants to propel their own chair. Again they will pack away well until needed and are easy to put on and off.
Waist high wheelchair cover: designed to come up to the waist, encase the body and cover the legs while the user is in their wheelchair. Waterproof and lined for extra warmth, the user can be lowered into or sit into the cover, which is then zipped up at the front. This style is great in bad weather and for those whose lack of mobility or have a condition which makes them feel the cold.
Leg and lap covering wheelchair covers: available in fleece lined or unlined versions these covers are designed to be slipped over the legs and lap of the wheelchair user. They attach the wheelchair at the waist and pull easily over the chair footplate. Suitable for wheelchair user who may need to get in and out of their chair.
Wheelchair Accessories: products to help you when you are out and about: washable seat pads, Radar Key, weighted blankets and more.
COMMON ISSUES & SOLUTIONS
There are a number of organisations which can help with information regarding travelling in the UK if you or a family member has a disability.
HM Government website - Useful information on transport in around the UK, including the Blue Badge scheme, Disabled travel passes, transport for the disabled, school transport for a disabled child.
Disabled Travel Advice – this website has some good advice, links and information about disabled travel, including airlines, public transport and getting out and about in the UK.
Transport for London – this website has information about travelling around London, the journey planner allows you to specify what sort of access you need when using public transport and planning your trip.
The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain – Ideas for days out, information about disabled parking, tips and feedback from other disabled travellers.
Motability Scheme - The Car and Scooter Scheme for those with a special need or disability people, The Motability Scheme helps people with a disability exchange their mobility allowance for a new car, mobility scooter or electric wheelchair.
Locating Disabled Toilets
Living Made Easy - links and information on accessible toilets in the UK.
Changing Places - Changes places is a charity that campaigns for fully accessible toilets and changing spaces, these toilets are designed to be roomy and include a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist. Their website has a list of locations for these.
The RADAR National Key Scheme – the scheme has around 8,000 disabled access toilets around the country. They can be unlocked using a Radar key, which can be purchased from a range of different suppliers. You can also purchase guides which map where the toilets can be found. Information about where toilets are located can also be found at Direct Enquiries - through this website you can view the RADAR scheme accessible toilets in your area.
Walking Reins and Harnesses
For those who are particularly active, with little or no sense of danger, walking reins and harnesses can be a good safety solution. They can prevent the wearer from running into traffic or getting away from their carer and becoming lost.
Walking reins are available in child and adult sizes, these are usually made from strong webbing and often have a waist belt or chest pad and shoulder straps. These versions are designed to particularly hard for the wearer to wriggle out of, essential for those who are hyperactive or those who may try to run from their carer.
Another solution may be a backpack that incorporates a strap and handle that the parent or carer can hold to keep their charge with them. This is more discrete option for families when they are out and about.
Travelling by Car – Seat Belts and Safety Seats
In the car it is essential that your child or relative is properly secured. There are rules which govern the use of car seats for children in the UK and Europe. These apply whether the person is disabled or not. (In certain circumstances an exemption can be issued by a doctor due to a child’s circumstances and condition) Information relating to these regulations can be found on the Government website.
For those with additional needs there are seat belts and seats available for their family and carers to use. This could include 5 point harnesses to keep a person secure in the seat while the car is moving as well as seats that provide postural support for the users. We have put some links below to some suppliers who may be able to help.
Please note - Fledglings cannot recommend one supplier over another and that there are other manufacturers who supply similar products. We advise that you research further before deciding on which product would be most suitable. It may be that you would also need to seek the advice of an Occupational Therapist or a Health Professional before choosing the best option for you.
• Crelling Harnesses Ltd
• The In Car Safety Centre
• The Windmill Special Needs Co Ltd
Further Useful Information and Links
Rica - Part of the national research charity Research Institute for Consumer Affairs. They research and distribute free information about products and consumer reports. We focus specifically on issues of concern to disabled and older consumers. They aim to provide practical advice for disabled and older people. Their website has some useful information on mobility, driving and cars for the disabled.
They also have a page related to car seats for children with special needs.
Living Made Easy - Provide advice on equipment, including a section on travel seats and seat belts.
Information and advice on flying from UK airports
The TravelChair is made by MERU.
TravelChair is a unique chair that provides firm, postural support enabling disabled children to fly on commercial aircraft.
The TravelChair is suitable for children 3 – 11 years (depending on weight and height) and fits into a standard airline seat. The maximum sitting shoulder height for the passenger is 52cm and maximum weight is 35kg. The adjustable headrest, footrest and body harness provide various levels of postural support which can allow even severely disabled children the option to fly.
Instructions for the use of TravelChair accompany the product, together with a training video.
Please Note: It is essential to inform the airline at the earliest opportunity and at least 48 hours before you plan to fly, that you are bringing the TravelChair on board.
The TravelChair is made from strong, durable materials and has been developed with the parents of disabled children, airlines and the UK Civil Aviation Authority to ensure everyone’s needs are met. It is now approved by EASA.
It can be placed in a standard airline seat so you can sit with your child during the flight. It is quick to install, has familiar supportive features and fits into the overhead locker when not in use.
The TravelChair can be purchased in Meru’s online shop or hired from the Tryb4uFly service.
Some airlines do offer the TravelChair for free on their flights (for example Monarch, Virgin and BA all offer it) so it is advisable that they check with the airline (if known) first.
If you're travelling from the UK, call the Special assistance team
• Tel: 0344 481 4455
• TTY: 0344 209 0747
• Fax: 0344 209 7373
• Voice tel: 01293 747691
• Email: Special_Assistance@fly.virgin.com
Mon - Fri 09:00 - 18:00 ( UK local )
Bank holidays 09:00 to 17:00
Sunday and Christmas Closed
Contact: can be reached daily from 06:00 to 20:00 (GMT) at 0344 493 0787, option 3 (calls are charged at local rate).
If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact us at 0845 700 7706 (Minicom).
Contact: 0333 003 0700
• You can reach us daily from 06:00 to 20:00 (GMT) at 0344 493 0787, option 3 (calls are charged at local rate).
• If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact us at 0845 700 7706 (Minicom) .
Try Before You Fly
Contact: 020 8770 1151
A service for disabled children and adults in the UK that provides cabin assessments information about flying with a disability and hire equipment to make your journey easier.
Try Before You Fly offer:
Advice - Assessment of needs and suitability, training and a trial of the available equipment at one of their assessment centres (at Leeds and Carshalton in Surrey – more to follow):
• Hire of various air equipment suitable for air travel (not only the Travelchair but Burnett Body Systems and Crelling products as well)
Crelling supply a harness suitable for use on an airline seat, the Model 27 which comes in different sizes.
Fits single seats, Aircraft seats & other types of single seating.
Full supportive, 5 point, front fastening harness.
Waist belt is fitted with a Press Release buckle.
This harness is for those passengers who require additional postural support.
It fits to the seat with two horizontal fixing straps
BIKES AND TRIKES
For a child or adult with additional needs an adapted bicycle or trike can give them greater mobility and freedom. For their carers it can mean they are able to join in with family activities and days out. Special needs bikes and trikes can be found in child to adult sizes with a wide range of adaptations and models available. Many of these can be built to the person’s individual specifications and needs.
These bikes and trikes can be expensive so many families seek funding to help towards the cost. Information about possible funders can be found at;
Disability Grants - http://www.disability-grants.org/grants-for-trikes.html
Whizz Kidz – Whizz Kidz is a charity that helps children by providing essential mobility equipment, including recreational mobility trikes - up to the maximum value of £2500 (If the cost is over £2500 the remainder will need to be sourced from other funders or by the family)
Tel: 020 7233 6600
Get Cycling – Get Cycling is an organisation which aims to promote all kinds of cycling and events. The provide information, Get Cycling programmes, publications, promote events and have a cycling support service. They also have a bike shop in York and actively promote disabled cycling, working with special schools, community groups as well as individuals. They work closely with the Family Fund providing new and refurbished cycles.
Tel: 01904 636812
Suppliers, Trikes and Bikes
Fledglings has put together a list of manufacturers and suppliers of special needs mobility trikes and bikes. Be aware that this list is not comprehensive and there may be other options available on the market. In addition, we cannot recommend one product or supplier over another and suggest that you do your own research in to the best option for you. The advice of an occupational therapist or health professional may also be useful if you are thinking of getting a trike or a bike for a family member.
Tomcat Special Needs – Tomcat make a range of custom built trikes and bikes, also information about funding options
Tel: 01452 616900
Ashfield Special Needs – build a range of twin bikes and trikes for special needs.
Tel: 07786 801333
Quest 88 – Quest 88 manufacture and supply special needs bikes for adults and children
Tel: 01952 463050
Theraplay Ltd - manufacturer and supplier of equipment for children and adults with special needs. The company has developed a product line that encompasses tricycles, handcycles, wheelchair seating inserts, and positional aids.
Mission Cycles – Mission cycles have a range of tricycles for children and adults with special needs, including bikes, trikes and hand bikes.
Tel: 01622 815678
Other types of mobility bikes
Balance Bikes – balance bikes are good for helping the rider get used to balancing and managing to steer and brake without having to cope with pedalling at the same time. The rider sits astride the bike and pushes themselves along with their feet.
• Just Balance Bike – balance bikes for children.
Tel: 01242 802 796
• Striderbike – balance bikes for children and adults.
Tel: 01926 339107
ALL TERRAIN BUGGIES & WHEELCHAIRS
Most of the special needs all terrain buggies have 3 wheels and can be purchased with a range of accessories and adaptations. They usually have a stronger build than a conventional buggy and are designed to be used on a variety of terrains. This means the buggy user can be included in more family activities and days out. The buggies can be brought in various sizes, including adult versions.
However, there are a few things to consider if you are thinking about getting an all-terrain buggy.
• A buggy with 3 wheels will be more maneuverable but this may affect its stability.
• The all-terrain buggies are designed to be pushed by the carer, the user will not be able to self- propel.
• Although many all-terrain buggies may have different seating options, those available for wheelchairs may provide more support and a better seating position for the user. You would need to consider this before choosing your buggy.
• Think about what accessories you are likely to need with your buggy and get them at the same time. This is especially true of rain covers and sunshades, these are usually specific to your model of buggy and it is hard to get others that will fit. If you are thinking of applying for funding for the buggy, see if you can include the important accessories, such as a protective rain cover, as well.
• The all-terrain buggies as a rule will fold down so that they can be transported but please check this with the supplier. Look into how much room they take up when folded down and if it will fit in your vehicle. Also see how easy they are to collapse down.
In view of this we suggest that the advice of an occupational therapist, physiotherapist or health professional is sought when you are looking at buggies. They will be able to advise on the best seating and head posture for your child to ensure they are comfortable sitting in the buggy.
Mountain Trike - all terrain wheelchairs enables our customers to have access to the great outdoors with the freedom to roam off the beaten track. We have lots of customers with different abilities from aged 6 to 96 years old! All our customers love the freedom and independence that their Trike gives them.
All-Terrain Wheelchairs - All Terrain Wheelchairs has the main objective to empower people with a physical challenge and give them access to the great outdoors.
Special Needs Pushchairs - Freedom, Independence and Liberty buggy
Tel: 01363 881110
Beach Wheelchair & All -Terrain Buggies - Specialists in Beach Wheelchairs and All-Terrain Buggies for children and adults with special needs.
Tel: 01725 519405
Delichon - have a range of outdoor mobility and seating products for children and adults. This includes the Foam-Karve seat, the Delta All-Terrain Buggy and the Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair.
Tel: 01725 519405