It is good to hear that you have finally decided to switch from manual to power wheelchairs. As compared to manual wheelchairs, bariatric users always find heavy duty power wheelchairs comfortable. The reason is they need not exert their hands and shoulders for pushing the chair backward or forward. Moreover, they need to exert more pressure than a regular limited mobility sufferer due to overweight issues.  

Shifting from manual to power wheelchairs would be a smooth transition only when you keep certain safety tips in the mind. The reason is the overall operation of the power or electric wheelchair is entirely different from the manual one. Therefore, the first and foremost important safety tip is to ask a mobility specialist to give you a demo of the safe operation of these wheelchairs. He will make you understand the different parts of an electric wheelchair, their functions and their safe operation to ensure a comfortable and smooth ride. Some other safety precautions important to remember while using heavy duty power wheelchairs are as follows:

Turning the Power Off: For safety reasons, always turn the power off of the electric wheelchair. Keep the power off even when you are transferring into and out from the chair so that it remains stable. Similarly, when you are charging its batteries, do not forget to keep the battery in an “off” mode.

Fastening Seat Belt: As soon as you sit down in the wheelchair, the first thing to do is fastening your seat belt. People with balance issues cannot afford to sit in a wheelchair without fastening the seat belt. This is the most basic yet important safety precaution necessary to follow for avoiding accidental falls and injury.

Travel Outdoors Carefully: It is a known fact that heavy duty power wheelchairs are all-terrain wheelchairs. But this does not mean that you should take uneven or gravel paths intentionally while traveling outdoors. Wherever possible, ride on flat and smooth surfaces, and avoid trafficked roadways. In the case of rain or poor visibility due to fog, try not to go outdoors on these wheelchairs.

Regular Maintenance is Important: Always keep your travel companion i.e. wheelchair in a safe and good condition and follow the schedule of maintenance and servicing. Do not allow any electric component of the wheelchair to corrode due to exposure to rain. Even keep checking for the build-up of dirt and dust particles on various parts of the wheelchairs. Whenever possible, clean them with a soft and dry cloth after putting the battery off. In case of any repair or replacement of any damaged part, always contact the manufacturer or the company from where you have purchased it.

These are general safety precautions necessary to follow to increase the working lifespan of heavy duty power wheelchairs. Now, let’s take a look at the two most popular models of bariatric power wheelchairs available in the market.

  1. Pride Jazzy HD Wheelchair: This is one of the most comfortable heavy duty power wheelchairs for people with a weight capacity of 600-650 lbs. Supporting reinforced frame and upgraded motors for heavy users, the wheelchair is designed to handle various terrains easily. It has excellent climbing capabilities and front anti-tips ensure a smooth transition over grade changes. Some other salient features of the wheelchair are a 26.5’’ turning radius, flat-free drive tires, up to 15.7 miles per charge with a maximum speed of 4.5 mph, a limited-recline high back seat for comfortable sitting, etc.
  2. Golden Technologies Compass Heavy Duty Power Wheelchair: The captain’s seat with a fold-flat seat hinge design for smooth transport, an articulating chassis and a center-wheel drive platform for handling rough terrain are three unique features of the high-end wheelchair. With a turning radius of 20’’, any person with an approximate weight of 400 lbs can enjoy a smooth and safe ride on this wheelchair. It is because the wheelchair has a weight-holding capacity of 450 lbs. Some other specifications of the chair are it has padded flip-up arm support, adjustable headrests, footrests and armrests, a fully programmable dynamic shark joystick, etc.

So, choose any of the heavy duty power wheelchair models and drive safely by considering the safety tips.