Hesperian Health Guides
Fitting the Chair to the Child: Measurements
Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!
Make a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.
These measurements are for wheelchairs and for special seating without wheels.
|Measure across hips or thighs— whichever is wider.|
|MEASURE WIDEST PART||Add 1 cm. (½ inch) to both sides for seat width.|
Note: Some specialists recommend wider seats. But the child gets a better arm position for pushing the wheels if only 1 cm. is added on either side. However, you may want to leave a little more room to allow for the child’s growth.
Note: You may want to add 2 cm. or 3 cm. to allow for growth and use a backboard or firm cushion to fill in the extra space.
|MEASURE FROM BEHIND KNEE TO BACK OF BUTT||Subtract about 1 cm. for depth of seat to leave a little space behind the knees.|
Note: Raising the seat of a small child higher lets his feet rest above the casters and therefore directly below the knees. The higher seat also helps for eating at the table with the family. Sideways transfers are also easier. Sometimes seats are placed even higher than shown, but this makes pushing wheels with hands more difficult.
MEASURE FROM BOTTOM OF BUTT TO BEND OF ELBOW.
|Before measuring, be sure child is sitting as straight as possible.||Put armrest height a little higher than his elbow so that the elbow will be positioned away from the body.|
Note: This measurement is standard, but some children need arm support at a higher level. Experiment.
MEASURE FROM BOTTOM OF BUTT TO ARMPIT
Note: This measurement is standard, but some children need a higher back, and sometimes head support. Others prefer a back that supports only the hips.