Tips, Tools and Techniques for Getting into a Car
Getting into and out of a car can be difficult for people with disabilities, as well as people who are older. In some cases, a small change to your technique can be enough – sitting on the seat sideways and swinging your legs around after you.
If you can’t stand and need to transfer from your wheelchair, transferring your body sideways into the seat using your arms can be effective, but does rely on a reasonable amount of upper body strength. It can also be difficult if you’re not parked on level ground or don’t have room to align your wheelchair exactly with the car seat.
When you’re choosing a vehicle, look for one that has high and wide door openings, to give you plenty of space and reduce the chances of hitting your head. Also look for hand holds, so you have places to grip should you need them. The height of the vehicle may also be a factor – some cars are too low and others too high to transfer in and out of comfortably.
On the other hand, there are plenty of tools to help you get in and out of a car easily, and some are designed to work with higher or lower vehicles.
Swivel seats can move up and down or in and out, or both, making it possible to get onto the seat from the most comfortable position for you before moving the seat into the appropriate travelling position.
The Belek Car Seat Raiser lifts itself to allow you to get into your vehicle without bending or stooping, and because it rises and falls up to 17cm, it makes lower vehicles more accessible than ever.
In contrast, a solution like Turny Evo is designed to make it possible to transfer into MPVs and higher vehicles, swivelling the seat out and lowering it to a comfortable position.
If you find it difficult to transfer out of your wheelchair at all, then swivelling seats may not be as accessible as you’d like. Some companies offer hoists, to lift you out of your wheelchair into the car, however the majority of people we have spoken to found those to be awkward and undignified.
Instead, you could use a system that transfers you into the car while you remain in your wheelchair seat, like the Carony from SDL. The system makes it quick, simple, safe and dignified to get into your vehicle, sliding you and your seat in together. The wheelbase is left behind, so you do need to either be able to lift that across into the vehicle after you, or have someone with you to pick it up.
You can combine solutions, so the Carony plus Turny would swivel you in and out of position, and onto your wheelchair base, in one easy action.
If none of the available options suit your needs, you can also look into a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, which allow you transfer into the vehicle without getting out of your wheelchair at all.
The range of options available to help you get in and out of your car go from simple swivelling functions, right up to systems that transfer you into the vehicle while still in your wheelchair, so whatever your level of mobility, there’s a way for you to get into and out of your vehicle easily, and maintain your freedom and independence. If you’re not sure which solution is best for you, let our experts help.