Best Manual Wheelchairs for Children

Best pediatric manual wheelchairs
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There are families all over the world who have children with additional needs and limited mobility but this should not mean that the quality of life of the child is any less than an able-bodied kid.

For this reason, there are many pediatric wheelchairs on the market that can make everyday activities far more accessible to children with disabilities. These mobility aids can ease the stress of parents and carers and allow families to enjoy life without having to worry about how the child will take part.

In this article, we are going to look at how a pediatric wheelchair may benefit you and your child as well as looking at everything you will need to know to make an informed choice when it comes to finding the right chair for your little one. We have also sourced some of what we strongly believe to be the best pediatric wheelchairs currently on offer, giving you the confidence that these wheelchairs will meet your child’s needs.

Contents

Best Pediatric Manual Wheelchairs Comparison Chart

Here’s a handy reference list of our reviewed pediatric manual wheelchairs. Further below is a more comprehensive comparison and review guide.

Zippie 2 Pediatric Wheelchair Ziggo Lightweight Kids Wheelchair Invacare IVC 9000 Jymni Pediatric Wheelchair Zippie Iris Pediatric Wheelchair Zippie TS SE Pediatric Wheelchair
Weight Capacity 165 lbs 150 lbs, 250 lbs 125 lbs 225 lbs 165 lbs
Seat Dimensions 12" – 16" (W) x 12" – 18" (D) 12" – 18" (W) x 12", 16" (D) 10" – 16" (W) x 10" – 14" (D) 10" – 18" (W) x 10" – 18" (D) 10" – 18" (W) x 13" – 20" (D)
Seat-to-Floor Height 13.5" – 20" 18" 15" – 17" 13" – 19" 15.5" – 20"
Overall Width 20" – 25.5" 18.5" – 23" 18" – 25" 17.5" – 25.5" 18.25" – 24.25"
Back Height 17" – 26" 14" – 19" 14" – 15" 16" – 25" 16" – 22" and 19" – 25"
Product Weight 25 lbs 31.5 lbs – 40.75 lbs 31 lbs 22.8 lbs – 35.8 lbs 29 lbs
Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

What is a Pediatric Manual Wheelchair?

Pediatric wheelchairs

When you compare a pediatric wheelchair to an adult model, the differences are not that great. The main difference between an adult wheelchair and their pediatric counterparts is simply the size. However, there is also a marked difference in terms of how the wheelchair adapts to the child as it grows.

If parents of disabled children were expected to continually purchase a new wheelchair every time their child had a growth spurt, they’d surely be very much out of pocket. But many pediatric wheelchairs offer a diverse system whereby the chair will grow and adapt with the child. At least until they reach a certain age and size.

These wheelchairs offer much the same in terms of features as the larger models but are designed with the smaller frame of a child in mind. This is because, children with additional needs often have similar requirements to disabled adults but may find using a larger wheelchair much more difficult, not to mention unsafe.

Types of Pediatric Manual Wheelchairs?

Similarly to adult wheelchairs, pediatric models come in different types, this is so that you are able to choose a wheelchair that will specifically meet the needs of you and more importantly, your child.

In the main, there are five types of pediatric wheelchair and it is vital that, before you commit to a purchase, you consider how the wheelchair will be used. This will give you a better idea of what type of wheelchair will make life the easiest for you and your child.

Rigid Standard Wheelchair

A rigid standard wheelchair is often custom made to suit the user and features a single rigid frame that cannot be adjusted. They are usually made from lightweight materials such as carbon fiber or aluminum and are ideal for children who have good control over their upper body as well as those who are able to easily transfer from the wheelchair to vehicles, beds, and other locations.

Reclining Wheelchairs

As the name may suggest, a reclining wheelchair allows the user to recline back with an adjustable backrest. It is important to remember that, whilst they may sound the same as a tilting wheelchair, there is a clear difference.

A reclining wheelchair’s backrest will move independently of the other components and is perfect for children who may spend long periods of time in the wheelchair and need to move in order to relieve pressure on the body.

Usually, the backrests on these models are much higher so that adequate support is given, even when they are lying back.

Tilt-In Space Wheelchairs

In a similar way to the reclining wheelchair, the tilt-in space wheelchair allows the user to be reclined back, however, in this case, the entire seat unit reclines as opposed to the backrest only.

These are a suitable option for children whose upper body balance is not as good since they can be moved back, giving them a rest. However, in some people, this model can actually help them to improve their endurance where sitting is concerned.

These types of wheelchairs offer a greater level of comfort when compared to some of the alternative options.

Foldable Wheelchairs

A foldable wheelchair is ideal for anyone who needs to store or transport the wheelchair on a regular basis. These wheelchairs can be easily collapsed and placed into the trunk of the car or into storage.

If you and your child travel a lot, having a folding wheelchair is extremely advantageous. They may also be useful in getting your child to and from their place of education.

Lightweight Wheelchairs

If your child does not need to use their wheelchair all the time then a lightweight version may be suitable. These wheelchairs are not as bulky and cumbersome as some other options and so are great for temporary use.

In addition, they are much easier to carry and transport so could make a good choice for people who travel a lot. They are also easier for both the child and adult to operate thanks to not having to exert a lot of strength as you may have to with heavier models.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pediatric Manual Wheelchair

Wheelchairs for children

There is no doubt that you will want your child to be as comfortable and as safe as possible when using their wheelchair – after all, there is nothing more precious than a child. For this reason, it is imperative that you consider a variety of factors before choosing a pediatric wheelchair.

Doing this will allow you to make the best choice for your child and will provide them with everything they need to improve their mobility.

Growth Adjustability

We have already mentioned that a lot of pediatric wheelchairs are designed to grow with the child and this is essential to maintain their comfort as well as avoiding having to purchase multiple wheelchairs. If your child is going to be using a wheelchair on a permanent basis then an adjustable model is a must.

There are various components that you are able to adjust on these wheelchairs such as the height and width of the seat as well as the height of the backrest. How this is done will depend on the model with some having telescopic frames and others having an adjustment kit through which additional components can be added.

Portability

If your child requires their wheelchair for anything more than use in the home, then it may pay to invest in a wheelchair that has features that make it easily portable.

Many pediatric wheelchairs offer the ability to fold down which makes them ideal for taking the child to school, or holiday, or on days out.

You should also check the weight of the empty wheelchair since this can play a big part in how easy it is to transport.

Weight Capacity

If you are looking for a wheelchair that will grow with the child then it is even more important to pay attention to the weight capacity as there will likely be some significant growth over the years. That being said, many experts advise that a wheelchair should be used for a maximum of five years to avoid being behind with the latest innovations.

Be sure to check how much weight the wheelchair can manage and also be aware that if you are adding cosmetic customizations such as wheel trims and other decorations, these will also contribute to the weight that the wheelchair is having to withstand.

Comfort

Of course, you want your child to be comfortable whilst in their wheelchair especially if they will be spending a lot of time in it. There are many options for improving comfort in pediatric wheelchairs such as seat padding and cushions.

You should also consider the sitting position of your child and make a decision on whether they would benefit more from a wheelchair that reclines or whether a rigid wheelchair would be sufficient. The strength and ability of the child to keep themselves balanced whilst seated should also be taken into account.

Self-Propelled or Attendant Propelled?

As with adult wheelchairs, there is the option to choose between a self-propelled chair in which the child uses hand rims to wheel the chair along by themselves, or an option for a wheelchair that is pushed by an attendant.

Your child’s ability will greatly impact the type of chair that you choose. It is worth keeping in mind that if you choose a self-propelled option, this can also be operated by someone else so is the more diverse choice.

Best Manual Wheelchairs for Children

With such a wide choice when it comes to pediatric wheelchairs and so many great manufacturers, it is important to pick out the best of the bunch. We have found some of the very best pediatric wheelchairs that are designed to give you and your child the very best experience.

1. Zippie 2 Pediatric Wheelchair

Best Rigid Pediatric Wheelchair

Key Features

  • Weight capacity: 165 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 12" – 16" (W) x 12" – 18" (D)
  • Seat-to-floor height: 13.5" – 20"
  • Overall width: 20" – 25.5"
  • Back height: 17" – 26"
  • Product weight: 25 lbs

The choice of frame colors for this wheelchair is majorly impressive which is great for allowing children to show off their style. You’ve also got an excellent choice of customization options which include a variety of transit systems and a range of seat sizes. This allows you to get the very best fit for your child.

Depending on how you will need to transfer your child, there are a variety of footrest options including those that elevate or those that can swing outwards. There are tons of other customization options with this pediatric wheelchair so you know that no matter how versatile your child’s needs, this will provide a solution.

It has a weight capacity of 165 lbs so this is a wheelchair that will see your child right the way through to adulthood and thanks to the vast array of add-ons that you can buy, it will also adapt as your child grows.

The wheelchair itself is very lightweight which means that taking it out and about won’t be a hassle and the various detachable components mean that the wheelchair can be easily transported.

This would make a great pediatric wheelchair for children who are in need of a long-term mobility solution that can be used with ease.

2. Ziggo Lightweight Kids Wheelchair

Best Easily Transportable Pediatric Wheelchair

Key Features

  • Weight capacity: 150 lbs, 250 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 12" – 18" (W) x 12", 16" (D)
  • Seat-to-floor height: 18"
  • Overall width: 18.5" – 23"
  • Back height: 14" – 19"
  • Product weight: 31.5 lbs – 40.75 lbs

Not only is this a very affordable option but it is perfect for children whose needs may not be as great and who will only be using the wheelchair for short periods of time. This is thanks, in part, to the overall lightweight design of the chair. However, you will also notice that there are many add-ons that can make the wheelchair experience much more comfortable even if it is only going to be used for a while. This includes things like a drinks holder and extra cushions.

The wheelchair could be ideal for school use since it features flip back armrests which are perfect for when the child is sitting at a desk. Furthermore, the wheels quickly pop on and off which makes transporting the chair a breeze.

The seats come in a variety of sizes the largest of which feature a generous 250 lbs weight capacity so is ideally suited to larger children and will work well as your child grows.

3. Invacare IVC 9000 Jymni Pediatric Wheelchair

Best Budget Pediatric Wheelchair

Key Features

  • Weight capacity: 125 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 10" – 16" (W) x 10" – 14" (D)
  • Seat-to-floor height: 15" – 17"
  • Overall width: 18" – 25"
  • Back height: 14" – 15"
  • Product weight: 31 lbs

This Invacare wheelchair offers a range of great features that can make your child’s life much easier. This includes the addition of adjustable footrests that can be easily moved on of the way when the child needs to get in and out of the chair as well as a fully adjustable seat. This means that the wheelchair will adapt as your child grows and when you consider the reasonable price, this is even more exciting.

The wheelchair works well with children of all ages thanks to its 125 lbs weight capacity. So even if your child starts using it from a relatively early age, it will easily see them through to their teenage years.

The carbon steel frame is extremely durable but you still get a five year warranty so you can rest assured that if there are any problems, you are covered. What’s more, the lightweight design makes this easy to maneuver and transport so would work well for a child who needs to be constantly on the go.

The impressive range of customization features include a variety of chest straps, extensions on the wheel locks, and a choice of hand grips so you’re really able to exactly meet your child’s unique needs.

4. Zippie Iris Pediatric Wheelchair

Best Pediatric Wheelchair for Comfort

Key Features

  • Weight capacity: 225 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 10" – 18" (W) x 10" – 18" (D)
  • Seat-to-floor height: 13" – 19"
  • Overall width: 17.5" – 25.5"
  • Back height: 16" – 25"
  • Product weight: 22.8 lbs – 35.8 lbs

Whilst this is a more expensive option, you can feel confident that you are getting your money’s worth and this isn’t hard to see when you look at everything you are getting with this strong, reliable and safe wheelchair.

First of all, the aesthetics are excellent and you’re getting a very nice selection of color choices for the frame. But looks aren’t everything and in terms of functionality, this wheelchair is a dream.

This one has a tilt-in space function which moves around the child’s center of gravity giving them a smooth and comfortable experience. What’s more, this is the safest way. If your child spends a lot of time in their wheelchair, and needs to be regularly repositioned then this is a very viable option. Furthermore, the controls are easy to use making your life a lot more simple.

In terms of safety, there are a variety of seat belt options and the option of adding an anti-tip feature. Moreover the wheelchair has an extremely sturdy wheel locking system that keeps the wheelchair stable whilst stationary.

The weight capacity is 225 lbs which is very generous and there is also an option to add adjustable backrests and seats so that the wheelchair can adapt as your child grows.

5. Zippie TS SE Pediatric Wheelchair

Best Tilt-In Space Pediatric Wheelchair

Key Features

  • Weight capacity: 165 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 10" – 18" (W) x 13" – 20" (D)
  • Seat-to-floor height: 15.5" – 20"
  • Overall width: 18.25" – 24.25"
  • Back height: 16" – 22" and 19" – 25"
  • Product weight: 29 lbs

Once again, Zippie have given their customers a wide range of options in terms of both style and function. They even go as far as offering a variety of tilting ranges which mean that you can get really close to matching what your child needs. This includes how the tilt mechanism is operated and how far the chair tilts.

But the safety of this wheelchair leaves nothing to be desired either since the innovative tilting system means that it is easy to use as well as avoiding getting tangled within the cables.

There are even choices where the frame is concerned with options of either a folding frame that is ideal for those who need to get the wheelchair into the car or a rigid frame which offers excellent stability.

It is vital that your child’s wheelchair will grow with them and thanks to the generous adjustments that can be made, this is super-easy. Furthermore, the 165 lbs weight capacity means that the wheelchair is ideal for children right up into their teens. It’s also relatively light so pushing it around isn’t hard work, something that is especially important if your child relies heavily on their wheelchair and needs you to propel it.

Conclusion

Children who have a disability still need to get out and enjoy everything that life has to offer but this can be difficult without the right mobility aids. However, a pediatric wheelchair can give you and your child the freedom to explore the world with very little limitation.

These special chairs have been designed with the smaller frame of a child in mind and can often be adapted as your child grows, meaning that you don’t have to invest in several wheelchairs over the course of their life.

When choosing a pediatric wheelchair it is important that you take certain points into consideration so that you are able to find the very best option to meet your child’s needs.

Jackie Benardout

Jackie Benardout

Jackie is a passionate advocate for keeping people with all types of mobility problems active. After suffering complications after a knee replacement she knew that she wanted to remain as active as before her numerous operations. Her passion is to advise others on how to be able to lead a fulfilling and independent life no matter what disability they may have.

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