Safety is the top priority when transporting wheelchair users in a wheelchair van. If the wheelchair slides in the van, both the user and the people riding with him or her could be hurt. Securely strapping the wheelchair into the wheelchair van helps lessen the chance of the wheelchair moving while in the vehicle.
Push the wheelchair onto the wheelchair lift or ramp to enter the van with the wheelchair. Make sure that the individual is safe on the ramp by locking the wheelchair's brakes. Watch the user while the lift is operating, and hold on to the arm of the wheelchair so that you can help stabilize the chair.
Position the wheelchair in in the van as close as possible to the safety straps bolted in the floor. Check that the wheelchair's locks are in place and that four straps with hooks are bolted on the floor, as well as the regular seat belt that goes around the person who is in the wheelchair. The most common wheelchair straps in vans are adjustable. The adjustable straps have a mechanical device near the floor. Pull on the strap to make it longer, like a seat belt in the car. Push the button on the device to roll the strap in. Or manually roll in the strap by using the wheel on the side of the device.
Place the hook on the end of the strap on the bars that go across the bottom of a wheelchair. Secure all four hooks in the same fashion. Two of the straps hook to the front of the wheelchair, and two straps hook to the back.
Tighten the strap with the mechanical device at the bottom of the strap. Use the wheel for this task. Put the seat belt across the individual's lap and chest and fasten it. Adjust the seat belt so that it fits comfortably. Try to move the wheelchair to make sure it is stable. Pull on the straps until they are tight but not uncomfortably so for the passenger.
Tips & Warnings
- Do not transport an individual in a wheelchair van unless the wheelchair is fastened securely.
- If you cannot adjust the straps or the seat belts to fit the individual contact the owner of the van.
- Photo Credit man in wheelchair image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com handicapped sign image by sonya etchison from Fotolia.com van fano denmark image by david harding from Fotolia.com
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