Children with special needs will benefit from being able to move around outside the home but sometimes a wheelchair isn’t the best option for this. Depending on your child’s needs, it could be advantageous to invest in an adaptive stroller which can have a great positive impact on getting out and about for both you and your child.
However, there are many things that need to be understood when it comes to choosing a special needs stroller and your child’s unique needs will play an important role in this.
We have created this guide as a way of helping you understand the benefits of an adaptive stroller and what you should consider before buying one. We are also going to be looking at some of the best special needs strollers that are currently available for purchase to make finding the right one for you a lot less challenging.
Best Special Needs Strollers Comparison Chart
Here’s a handy reference list of our reviewed adaptive strollers. Further below is a more comprehensive comparison and review guide.
|BOB Revolution Flex 2.0 Jogging Stroller||Axiom 2 Improv Push Adaptive Stroller||Special Tomato Jogger Adaptive Stroller||Axiom Lassen 2 Push Adaptive Stroller||Zippie Voyage Adaptive Stroller|
|Weight Capacity||75 lbs||100 lbs||110 lbs||250 lbs||75 lbs|
|Height Capacity||44"||50" – 59"||55"||50" – 64+"||Birth to 6 years|
|Product Weight||28.5 lbs||30 lbs||27 lbs||34 lbs||28 lbs|
|Seat Dimensions||9" (D) x 14.5" (W)||12" (D) x 15" (W)||12" (D) x 14" (W)||15" (D) x 15" (W)||5" – 13" (D) x 6" – 13" (W)|
|Back Height||20"||28"||25"||28"||7" – 17"|
|Product Dimensions||25" (W) x 45" (H) x 46" (D)||24" (W) x 43" (H) x 61" (D)||26" (W) x 43" (H) x 42" (D)||24" (W) x 44" (H) x 47" (D)||24" (W) x 31.8" – 48" (H) x 43" (D)|
|Folded Dimensions||25" (W) x 16" (H) x 38" (D)||24" (W) x 19" (H) x 52" (D)||26" (W) x 16" (H) x 21" (D) (without rear wheels)||24" (W) x 16" (H) x 49" (D)||26" (W) x 29" (H) x 33" (D)|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
What is an Adaptive Stroller?
An adaptive stroller may also be referred to as an adaptive pushchair or a special needs stroller and these handy devices are a great alternative to a wheelchair.
An adaptive stroller has many additional features that a stroller for able-bodied children does not, making it an easy way for disabled children to get out and explore the world. For example, some may feature a tilt and recline function and others might offer a way for the stroller to develop as your child grows – we all know that children’s development can be speedy, and continuing to buy multiple wheelchairs as they grow can be very costly.
An adaptive stroller has many features that a wheelchair cannot offer and is therefore sometimes a much more preferable option for smaller children and their carers when going out and about.
Benefits of an Adaptive Stroller Over a Wheelchair
There are a number of reasons why you might choose an adaptive stroller over a wheelchair with the most common being that these mobility aids are far less bulky and heavy than a wheelchair. When you have children, keeping them entertained is vital, and getting out and about can be a great way of achieving this. However, transporting a large, heavy wheelchair can be strenuous and extremely inconvenient but an adaptive stroller makes an excellent, lightweight alternative.
When you go out, your adaptive stroller will likely fold up to a much more compact size making it easy to store them in the trunk of the car.
Thanks to the smaller design of an adaptive stroller, they are often a lot easier to use especially in tighter spaces. These strollers are usually much more slimline than a wheelchair so if you need to find your way through a lot of narrow doorways, they can be a godsend.
The adaptive stroller, as we mentioned earlier has a range of features that promote superior comfort and safety for your child, and thanks to the adjustable seats, your child can recline back and rest whenever they need to.
Throughout childhood, you may find yourself continually upgrading your child’s wheelchair but an adaptive stroller does exactly what you expect – it adapts and these devices are suitable for a wide range of children. From the very early months all the way through to their teenage years, this type of mobility aid can serve you and your child.
As far as aesthetics are concerned, there isn’t much room for movement with wheelchairs as a lot of them come with a standard design. But an adaptive stroller can come in a wide range of colors and styles which makes them much more enjoyable to look at for both you and your little one. After all, children delight in having something that looks great and can show their style and personality.
Types of Adaptive Strollers
Choosing the right adaptive stroller for you and your child will depend both on their needs and how you plan to use the stroller. The good news is that there is a wide selection of types of the adaptive stroller so that every eventuality is catered for.
Whether you need something for light use or something that can handle much rougher terrain and heavy-duty use, there is likely an adaptive stroller to help you with this.
Standard Adaptive Stroller
The most basic model of adaptive stroller comes in the form of the standard stroller but that isn’t to say that these strollers do not have a variety of features that offer excellent comfort, safety, and ease of use.
These strollers are good for lighter use or if you only plan to use them for the short-term. Most of these types of strollers come with the option to add additional safety straps, padding, or storage depending on your needs which makes them quite a versatile option.
Tilt-In Space Adaptive Stroller
Tilt-in space adaptive stroller offers the user the chance to recline back or be moved around when certain tasks need to be completed – this might include repositioning the child to improve comfort or for when the child needs to nap. Furthermore, for children who will need to be in the stroller for longer periods of time, they can greatly relieve pressure preventing sores and discomfort.
Many of these types of strollers feature additional stability and anti-tipping mechanisms to ensure safe use especially when the chair is being adjusted. They are a great option for children who will be spending much more time in their stroller thanks to the additional comfort and superior support that they offer.
All-Terrain Adaptive Stroller
If you and your family like to get out and about and explore off the beaten track, it is important to have an adaptive stroller that can handle this and an all-terrain stroller will definitely meet your expectations.
These adaptive strollers often feature a sturdier frame that is much more easily able to withstand the pressures of going over uneven ground but they will also provide the child with better comfort for a smoother ride.
They have improved suspension and feature larger, pneumatic tires which make pushing the stroller a lot less challenging and offer greater stability even over the hardest of terrains.
Bus Transit Adaptive Stroller
For families and children who will be regularly using forms of public transport or buses these specially adapted adaptive strollers are an essential accessory.
They feature anchor points so that the stroller can be secured to the floor of the bus meaning that it will not move during transit and offers a much higher level of safety.
Folding Adaptive Stroller
Many families make use of their cars, especially when going on family outings or vacations but they are also indispensable for running your day to day errands. Yet a bulky stroller can be difficult to take with you and so an adaptive stroller that has the ability to fold is essential.
These adaptive strollers are usually lightweight meaning that as well as being compact for storage and transporting, they are also easy to lift.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Adaptive Stroller
It isn’t difficult to see that adaptive strollers come in many shapes and sizes and aside from the type of stroller you wish to buy, you should be looking at various other factors that will help you make a more informed decision.
Where Will the Stroller be Used?
For some people, an adaptive stroller will be nothing more than a way to get around the home or school for example and in this case, you likely won’t need anything that has additional features.
However, if you are planning a lot of outdoor use or to use the stroller on uneven ground, it might pay to consider using an all-terrain stroller that will give you greater control, improved safety, and a smoother ride for your child.
Your child’s safety is the main priority when choosing an adaptive stroller and fortunately, all modern models come with an array of safety features that give you complete peace of mind.
Working brakes are essential especially if you need to stop in a hurry but furthermore, you should be confident that the brakes are stable when the stroller is stationary.
We mentioned that many all-terrain strollers have improved suspension but you should also be sure that even a standard stroller has decent spring suspension which will give your child extra comfort when you are pushing them along. However, this is also important to prevent strain or injury to the child.
A good safety harness is essential, even more so for children who are not able to balance themselves whilst in a sitting position. A five-point harness provides optimum safety since it prevents the child from moving around to the point that they may become unsafe but these also grow with your child thanks to their adjustable nature so you know they will always provide a good fit.
There are two main things to consider when choosing an adaptive stroller for portability. Primarily, you want to make sure that it is lightweight as this will make pushing it along a lot easier but it will also mean that lifting it in and out of the car becomes much less of a challenge.
Moreover, you should look at whether the stroller is capable of folding which will make transporting and storing it effortless, especially if you are limited on space.
Many adaptive strollers come with a very generous weight capacity which is ideal if you’re looking for a stroller that will grow with your child. Checking the weight capacity before you buy will ensure that you are getting a stroller that will serve you and your child for many years to come, this is of the utmost importance if your child has a long-term condition that will require the use of the stroller permanently.
If your child will only require the adaptive stroller for a short period of time, you are free to choose something with a smaller weight capacity.
You want to feel sure that not only is your adaptive stroller lightweight enough for you to easily maneuver but also that it can be moved around any type of space.
There are many options for narrower adaptive stroller although for the most part, these devices tend to be a lot more slimline than wheelchairs which is why so many parents opt for them.
Be sure to look at the dimensions to ensure that the stroller will easily maneuver through the doorways in your home, school or anywhere else you will frequently use it.
There is no doubt that you will want your child to be comfortable when they are in their adaptive stroller and many models come with padded seats and other comfort features that make even long periods in the stroller super comfortable and cosy for your child.
If you are planning very long-term use of the stroller, it can pay to invest in a tilt and recline model which offers superior comfort in a variety of ways. Your child will be able to recline when they want to rest but also this design means that pressure is relieved as you move your child into different positions.
Child’s Specific Needs
Each child is different and their needs will vary greatly. For this reason, it is important to think about the unique needs of your child when choosing an adaptive stroller.
Primarily, you need to think about whether this is the right mobility aid for them or whether a wheelchair might be a better option. Once you have decided that a stroller will work well, you should look at how its features will benefit your child and their needs.
Furthermore, you should consider the use of your adaptive stroller and whether it has features that will aid in this rather than cause further challenges – the stroller is designed to make yours and your child’s life easier.
Best Special Needs Strollers for Children with Disabilities
BOB Revolution Flex 2.0 Jogging Stroller
Best Budget Adaptive Stroller
- Weight capacity: 75 lbs
- Height capacity: 44"
- Product weight: 28.5 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 9" (D) x 14.5" (W)
- Product dimensions: 25" (W) x 45" (H) x 46" (D)
- Folded dimensions: 25" (W) x 16" (H) x 38" (D)
This is a great option for parents who are looking for a device that will grow with their child since it is suitable from birth all the way up to 75lbs, so it will last you quite a while. What’s more, you’re going to get a choice of colors to suit yours and your child’s preference.
For families who need something that can tackle a variety of terrains, the lockable front wheel and sturdy design make this an excellent choice.
Furthermore, the stroller is fully compatible with the range of car seats offered by the company (which are sold separately) so it provides you with a complete travel system – ideal for families who are always on the go.
The frame is constructed from a super strong alloy which gives excellent durability and stability – a long-lasting stroller that will give you the confidence that your child will be safe.
Axiom 2 Improv Push Adaptive Stroller
Best All-Terrain Adaptive Stroller
- Weight capacity: 100 lbs
- Height capacity: 50" – 59"
- Product weight: 30 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 12" (D) x 15" (W)
- Product dimensions: 24" (W) x 43" (H) x 61" (D)
- Folded dimensions: 24" (W) x 19" (H) x 52" (D)
This is a slightly more pricey option but it really does give you a lot for your money. Most notably, this one has a weight capacity of 100lbs so is ideal for anyone who wants something that will grow with the child. Furthermore, the lightweight design means that even as your child gets heavier, you won’t have a challenging time moving them around.
The stroller can be folded for easy transportation and it has a variety of safety features that are second to none. Take, for example, the reflective trim which will always ensure you are seen as well as the hand brake for quick stopping. In addition to this, you’ll be getting that all-important five point harness that we discussed earlier.
There is plenty of storage with the stroller, couple this with the adjustable seat and sun canopy and you’ve got a stroller that is ideal for long days out.
Special Tomato Jogger Adaptive Stroller
Best Lightweight Adaptive Stroller
- Weight capacity: 110 lbs
- Height capacity: 55"
- Product weight: 27 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 12" (D) x 14" (W)
- Product dimensions: 26" (W) x 43" (H) x 42" (D)
- Folded dimensions: 26" (W) x 16" (H) x 21" (D) (without rear wheels)
This is an ideal option for anyone who is looking for something a little more affordable but that doesn’t compromise on quality and performance.
Special Tomato is one of the world’s leading brands where adaptive strollers are concerned so you know you will be getting the best. The stroller boasts a very lightweight aluminum frame which makes for easy maneuvering and transportation but it is also super strong for the best stability.
The handle and seat are both adjustable so both yours and your child’s comfort have been clearly taken into consideration. Where comfort is concerned, there is also a range of choices for seat padding and whilst you do have to pay extra for this, it’s worth it if you are going to be using this for the long-term.
Safety is paramount as we know and the addition of the five point harness means that your child will be securely strapped into the stroller at all times.
It has a weight capacity of 110lbs so is ideal for long-term use and slightly older children as well as infants.
Axiom Lassen 2 Push Adaptive Stroller
Best Adaptive Stroller for Older Children
- Weight capacity: 250 lbs
- Height capacity: 50" – 64+"
- Product weight: 34 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 15" (D) x 15" (W)
- Product dimensions: 24" (W) x 44" (H) x 47" (D)
- Folded dimensions: 24" (W) x 16" (H) x 49" (D)
This has an impressive weight capacity of 250 lbs so is by far the superior option if you’re looking for something that will grow with your child. But there are a lot more impressive features to this adaptive stroller which really do put it at the top of the game.
The seat can recline back to 30º which makes this ideal for additional comfort for the child especially if they will be using the stroller for longer periods of time. But what is most impressive so that this is a stroller that has been designed for versatility and can be taken from indoors to the outside with little effort. The swivel tires at the front make moving around a breeze and the lightweight design means that pushing the stroller and transporting it is truly effortless.
Zippie Voyage Adaptive Stroller
Best Adaptive Stroller for Pre-Schoolers
- Weight capacity: 75 lbs
- Height capacity: Birth to 6 years
- Product weight: 28 lbs
- Seat dimensions: 5" – 13" (D) x 6" – 13" (W)
- Product dimensions: 24" (W) x 31.8" – 48" (H) x 43" (D)
- Folded dimensions: 26" (W) x 29" (H) x 33" (D)
One of the first things that you will notice about this stroller is that there are two options for seating, in terms of how far back the seat will recline. This is the first thing that makes this a diverse option. Additionally, you have choices including the addition of hip blocks and seat contouring amongst other things so you really can adapt this to suit the needs of your child.
The weight capacity of this one is slightly less than some of the other models at 75lbs but this will still give you a decent amount of use. The stroller is an ideal choice for new borns up to pre-schoolers.
This one is ideal for transporting thanks to the foldable design that can easily be done in one swift motion. Furthermore, it’s a lightweight model but it does not compromise on durability.
The adaptive stroller has telescopic handles so you can adjust this to your needs making it much more comfortable to push as well as a good amount of storage for everything your child needs whilst on the go.
You’re getting a good level of safety thanks to the impressive suspension and the handy addition of a hand brake, giving you the confidence that the stroller will stay in place when stationary.
For children with a disability, getting out and about doesn’t need to be a challenge and with an adaptive stroller, enjoying an active lifestyle is simpler than ever. There is a wide range of adaptive strollers, or special needs strollers on the market, and each of these gives you a diverse selection of customization options that allow you to adapt the device to the needs of your child.