Summer is the time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. It’s a time when you can go outdoors and experience things like the beauty of the beach, fireworks at night, and so much more.
However, for wheelchair users, it’s also a time to be extra cautious. There are certain steps you should take to ensure the safest experience for yourself.
As long as you do, soaking up the sun won’t become a health concern. It will merely be a time to refresh and recharge. Here are several summer safety tips for wheelchair users to keep yourself protected throughout the summer months.
Always Wear (and Bring) Sunscreen
With every sunshiny summer day we also get harmful UV rays that want to burn your skin. They especially like to feast on those that stay stagnant for an extended period of time.
It’s important to place sunscreen on any area where your skin is going to be exposed while you sit outside. That means covering your face, arms, neck, legs, and chest if you have your shirt off.
What’s just as important is remembering to frequently reapply the longer that you stay outside. You generally want to reapply every two hours, as your sweat will cause it to wipe away.
Remember to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside so that it can have time to take to your skin.
Driving gloves are an essential piece of equipment to bring for wheelchair users in the summer. The longer that you stay outside, the more sun that the materials of your wheelchair will absorb, thus the hotter it will get.
For those that use manual wheelchairs, it can save you from burning your hands as you push the wheels. It’s also important for caregivers to wear gloves as well, so that they can avoid burning their hands on the hot black grips that most chairs have.
Even if you have a power wheelchair, such as the Complex Rehab chair, you’ll want gloves to help you avoid slipping. Just remember you want to find gloves that are breathable (such as those with a mesh back) to ensure they don’t get too hot.
Have an Umbrella on Hand
Summer is known for its unpredictability when it comes to weather. One minute it could be sunny with clear skies, an hour or so later, there might be rain that appears out of nowhere.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to carry an umbrella with you wherever you take your wheelchair. It can help protect you from the sun as well as prevent you from getting rain on you and your chair.
The trick is to find an umbrella that’s big enough to cover yourself and your wheelchair with several inches to spare. If it’s sunny out, then the umbrella can help protect the battery in your power chair from getting access to too much heat.
Consistently Clean Your Ramp
As previously mentioned, summertime is as well-known for its frequent storms as it is for its frequent sunshine. With those storms comes different debris that flies up and catches onto your ramp. You might even notice mud that gathers from the storm.
The dirtier your ramp is, the riskier it is for you to use it. In order to keep it as safe as possible, you’ll need to frequently clean the debris that has gathered.
Be sure to take a sponge to the different slits of traction on your ramp, then washing them with a hose to ensure the dirt is removed from them. You can place a little bit of dish soap and water in a bucket to put the sponge into as you clean.
The cleaner your ramp remains, the more traction you’ll have and the less amount of dirt that will get on your power chair.
Frequently Charge Your Battery
One of the peskiest parts to the hot summer months is the toll they can have on your power chair’s battery. The hotter it is, the quicker the battery’s power will drain.
To avoid your chair losing power, you must constantly charge your chair’s battery whenever you can. If you’re staying in a beach house for vacation, be sure to charge the battery whenever you go inside for lunch, bathroom break, etc.
Also, always be sure to carry extra batteries with you if you have space. That way, if the battery does give out on you, it will be easy to switch out one for the other and keep on moving.
Clean Your Wheelchair Often
Last, but certainly not least, there’s the need for consistently cleaning your wheelchair during the summer months.
As you go out in the summertime, your wheelchair will gather sweat in your seat, dirt in your wheels, and even gather some debris along the way. Take the time each week to thoroughly clean it to stay on top of it.
Not cleaning it frequently can lead to the wheelchair not operating properly or bringing unwanted dirt and mud inside your house.
Use These Summer Safety Tips for Wheelchair Users to Your Advantage
Now that you’ve seen several summer safety tips for wheelchair users, it’s time to prioritize them in your daily life.
Be sure to visit this page for a list of frequently asked questions to get more information on the type of power wheelchair you should invest in.
For more inquiries, please feel free to reach out via our contact us page and we’ll be happy to assist you further.