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Dynamic Seating and Transportation: Dynamic Footrest considerations

Dynamic FootrestMichelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

An earlier blog in this series discussed considerations when transporting a person in a wheelchair using the Dynamic Rocker Back interface (DRBi). Please refer to that blog for general information about transportation of people in their wheelchairs. In this blog, we shall turn our attention to transporting a person who is using Dynamic Footrests. 

First things first. Anyone being transported in their wheelchair must use a system to secure the wheelchair frame to the vehicle and to prevent the occupant from moving too far forward during a collision. These systems are called Wheelchair Tiedown and Occupant Restraint Systems (WTORS). WC18 deals with the tiedown and restraint system, WC19 test the wheelchair itself, and WC20 tests the seating system separate from other testing.  Ideally, the specific wheelchair frame or base should also be crashed tested to WC19, the restraint system crash tested to WC18, and the seating systems may also be crash tested to WC20. Seating Dynamic’s Dynamic Footrests have been crash tested on some wheelchairs, but not tested specifically.

Seating Dynamics Dynamic Footrests can move in up to three planes: telescoping downward, elevating forward at the knee, and into plantar / dorsi flexion. Typically, the client will be using straps (i.e. shoe holders) to keep the feet in contact with the footplates so that client forces translate into movement of the Dynamic Footrests. A collision would normally lead to the feet moving forward. As the feet are secured, this forward movement is limited, and the forces will be somewhat dampened by the elastomers and springs in the Dynamic Footrests. 

The most common observation we hear from families transporting a person using Dynamic Footrests is that the footplates tend to run into the back of the vehicle seats when the client moves. If the client can be positioned in the vehicle to allow full Dynamic Footrest movement without contacting any interior surfaces, that would be ideal. This is not always possible, of course. Instead, note where the footplates are making contact and pad this area to minimize any damage. For example, if the front of the footplates contacts the back of the driver’s seat, cut a swim noodle in half and attach it to this portion of the driver’s seat. 

At Seating Dynamics, we are all about movement. However, we are also all about safety. Our design team continues to create components that move, while remaining durable and safe!

References:

RESNA’s Position on Wheelchairs Used as Seats in Motor Vehicles

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Transporting Children with Special Health Care Needs (May 2019), Pediatrics

 

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