Children with disabilities are denied so many opportunities and learning experiences when they can’t move around independently, which is why I’m so excited to see the recent development trend of toddler wheelchairs. Finally, a way has arrived to help these little guys to interact with the world.
Why is this important? Kids with disabilities often don’t know about the most common social activities. Once, a little girl who was a wheelchair-user asked how I was injured. When I told her by diving off a slide, she looked confused and asked, “Mama, what’s a slide?
But with new manual ZipZac and power Bugzi wheelchairs that have sprung up for toddlers with mobility impairments, young children with disabilities have a better chance at developing normally both socially and mentally, and that’s an awesome thing.
The ZipZac was initially created for a little boy with spinal bifida, Zachary, to help him get around on his own since he cannot independently moved himself around. A slick little wheelchair, the ZipZac is low to the ground, super-easy to push and offers the amazing gift of “natural” mobility to very young children.
The Bugzi, meanwhile, is a power wheelchair intended for children under the age of 6, and it was developed under the guidance of MERU, a foundation in the United Kingdom that’s funded by Queen Elizabeth’s famed disability charity, QEF.
This tiny little powerchair has big buttons to teach these young children how to drive. They’re not given a joystick right away, and that’s a very good thing. The child eventually graduates to a joystick from buttons. Typically, most children aren’t given powerchairs until they’re 3 or 4, but these wheelchairs are changing the rules so they get them a bit sooner. While the Bugzi is based in the UK, they will ship overseas.
Let me say I am grateful for having had an able-bodied childhood before my injury. I couldn’t imagine not being able to move independently as a kid. We fall, explore, bang around — that’s how we grow. Wheelchairs like the Bugzi and the ZipZac give some of the youngest children with disabilities an opportunity to develop and grow just like every other kid, and that’s a beautiful thing.
What other wheelchairs for children do you like?