Let’s face it, the day you purchase a wheelchair for your child, probably wasn’t something you dreamed of while you were pregnant. Especially when your child is very small, a wheelchair can feel inappropriate or silly even if it does provide the support that a standard stroller cannot. Many wheelchair companies have started addressing these issues with wheelchairs that look very much like strollers. They usually have a ton of positioning options and offer some degree of tilt. The good news? They don’t look nearly so clinical as a traditional stroller. The bad news? Some people don’t realize they’re strollers and may object to their use in certain places.
When I started asking other parents, the most common stroller-style wheelchair I heard about was the Kid Kart Xpress. Not surprisingly, it’s made by Sunrise who also creates the Quickie line of wheelchairs. Quickies are everywhere! It has a tilt from -20° to 45°. It also has an optional 45° of recline. It does fold up, but at 34 pounds, it’s definitely on the heavy side. It has some growability and since it is stroller-style, I can’t imagine you would need too much more than that.
I was interested to see that Otto Bock makes a similar model called the Kimba Spring. The Kimba weighs only 21 lbs. and is also collapseable. It doesn’t appear to be growable, but there are adjustments that can be made for height, so I’m not sure how much more you will need with a stroller-style chair. It offers -35° to 35 of tilt. Perhaps most interesting is that the chair can come in a twin version, so if you’ve got more than one disabled child in the house, I can’t imagine anything better. Kimba seats can also be removed and used with a hi-low base while inside the house.
Another stroller-style chair that has gotten a lot of buzz in special needs community is the Thevo Twist from Thomasfilfen. What sets the Thevo Twist apart from other stroller-type chairs, is it’s dynamic seating. It has what they call “micro stimulations,” which allows a child to be supported even if they make slight movements. My understanding is that it’s great for kids who arch a lot or who have very little trunk control. At 36 lbs., it’s the heaviest chair in this category, but it does fold and grow. It offers a tilt of -10 to 45 degrees. I think that with this chair, the seating system is what sells it. If your child needs that level of support, then this is the only chair that offers this cutting edge technology.
There are several other chairs in this category, but nothing terribly innovative (from my perspective). Again, I encourage you to download the comparison charts and go over them with the people helping you choose your chair.