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How To Practice Safe And Sound Wheelchair Use In The Winter

Well, it certainly looks like we won’t need to wait until the 21st of December to utter the words “winter is here”. With the recent snowfall, here in Toronto, it is evident that the cold and snowy season has come early.

For many, the early snow is a welcome sign of a joyous season. For many others, it’s a dreaded reminder of the many months of cold weather ahead. And then there are those who need to be mindful of a number of safety precautions that must be taken going forward. If you’re a wheelchair user, it’s vital that you practice safe and sound use of your mobility solution throughout the winter. Let’s discuss a few important ways to do just that.

Take care of your wheelchair’s battery.

For those who utilize power wheelchairs, it’s important to be very familiar with the device’s inner workings. Read the manual to understand any and all warnings associated with cold weather. It is possible that the wheelchair’s battery may be impacted by extreme temperatures. There are a variety of batteries a power wheelchair can use. However, they can all lose charge in below zero temperatures. This is especially true if the wheelchair has been outdoors for a lengthy period of time.

Do you store your wheelchair in the garage when it is not in use? If so, be sure to bring the battery indoors. This is a better option that keeping the battery constantly plugged in for charging. Doing so generally shortens its lifespan.

Check the wheels for hair.

How often have you found your hair coiled up in the wheels of your wheelchair? We lose numerous strands of hair on a daily basis. And, as most wheelchair users know, wheelchair wheels tend to find them. While it’s always a good idea to remove hair from the wheels, it’s an especially important task to undertake in the winter.

“Hair wrapped around your caster axles will wear out your caster bearings prematurely,” informs Corey Barss on SunriseMedical.com, “Add in wintertime slush and salty water, and you are almost guaranteed to have an issue.”

Get a travel bag for your wheelchair.

During the wintertime, it’s never a bad idea to bring along a little luggage for each outdoor trip. Packing a travel bag ensures that you’ll be well equipped with some extra protection if you ever get in a bind. If your power wheelchair’s battery dies or you get stuck in the snow, you’ll certainly be in need of a few extra supplies.

Socks, gloves and even a blanket are some excellent inclusions in your travel bag. Snacks and water should be thrown in there too. Put your water in an insulated water bottle so that it won’t freeze when brought outside. Be sure, however, to not carry a bag that is too heavy to be placed on the back of your wheelchair. You don’t want to lose your centre of gravity.

At LifeCare Mobility Solutions, we offer both high-quality manual and power wheelchairs. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at info@lifecaremobility.ca. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!

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