What is needed
Parents who are manual wheelchair users face the practical problem of manoeuvring a wheelchair at the same time as pushing a baby buggy.
In 2018, parents completed a survey sent out by Designability and the responses highlighted the barriers facing parents.
“My wife had to do all the pushing of the pram and I could not help”
Despite looking, most parents told us they were not able to find a suitable pushchair for use with a wheelchair.
Who will benefit?
Although being a parent and a manual wheelchair user is not a unique situation; the level of demand for a wheelchair baby carrier is currently perceived as too low to be of interest to either commercial wheelchair or baby buggy manufacturers.
The cost of production of specialist wheelchair baby carriers is likely to be high so, to benefit parents who would like to use a baby carrier but are unable to afford the high cost, we will make their new wheelchair baby carrier available through a free loan scheme. This means that parents will be able to borrow a baby carrier from us, and then return it when it is no longer needed.
Design and development
The first phase of work has been about discovering and exploring the key challenges for wheelchair users when carrying babies and establishing some key requirements. We have had valuable input from volunteer parents who have reviewed early concept designs.
Our current focus is now on carrying out some technical feasibility studies looking at the attachment mechanism and the wheel configuration, as well as reviewing standards and regulations that will apply to a new wheelchair baby carrier.
We will seek further testing by volunteers who will enable us to develop the features and early prototypes of the design.
As the design programme progresses, we will reach a stage when volunteers will be able to participate in testing of the new design.
How you can help
We are looking for volunteers to work with us to develop our new baby carrier for a manual wheelchair.
We need to understand lots of practical details about how wheelchairs and buggies work or don’t work when used together. We are looking for people who have experience of using a wheelchair and being a parent and are willing to share their experiences.
If you are a manual wheelchair user and a parent, parent to be or grandparent, just get in touch and join our informal network. We will then keep you informed of opportunities to help.
These might be:
- Sharing your review of our concepts and prototypes by completing an online survey
- Meeting with us in person, or via a video phone call