Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Getting the Right Wheelchair for Travel: A WC19-Compliant Wheelchair: This Is EP's Second Installment in a Six Part Series on Wheelchair Transportation Safety (WTS), Produced in Partnership with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Look for More Informative Articles on WTS Appearing throughout 2007

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Getting the Right Wheelchair for Travel: A WC19-Compliant Wheelchair: This Is EP's Second Installment in a Six Part Series on Wheelchair Transportation Safety (WTS), Produced in Partnership with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Look for More Informative Articles on WTS Appearing throughout 2007

Article excerpt

What is WC19 and why does it matter?

In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3-18. Conventional occupant seatbelt systems, including child safety seats for younger children and vehicle seatbelts for older children, do much to reduce the risk of serious injury in the event of a collision event. However, children who must remain seated in their wheelchairs while traveling are often at a disadvantage in terms of crash safety.

The new voluntary wheelchair industry standard WC19 (short for Section 19 of the ANSI/RESNA * wheelchair standards) works to close the safety gap by providing design and performance criteria and test methods to assess whether a wheelchair can perform as a seat during a vehicle crash and work well with safety belt systems. The standard was developed by rehabilitation experts and safety engineers and is based on the same principles used to evaluate occupant protection and crashworthiness of vehicle seats and child safety seats. If you know someone who cannot transfer into a vehicle, a WC19-compliant wheelchair can help keep them safer on the road.

What are the advantages to a WC19 wheelchair?

The numbers of WC19-compliant wheelchairs are growing and include many product categories. There are WC19 wheelchairs for children and adults in both manual and power models. All offer some common benefits and features, which are listed below.

1. Reduced risk of injury for wheelchair riders involved in vehicle crashes

A WC19-compliant wheelchair is strong enough to provide effective support for the wheelchair rider in a wide range of crashes and emergency vehicle maneuvers. When the wheelchair can withstand crash loads, properly positioned seatbelts stay in place and apply any needed restraining force to the strongest areas of the body--the pelvis, shoulders, and chest. To comply with WC19, a wheelchair must perform well in a frontal crash test similar to the federal tests used to make sure vehicle seats, seatbelts, and child safety seats are crashworthy. The crash test simulates a frontal impact that is more severe than approximately 97 percent of frontal crashes. The frontal crash condition is the highest priority because it is the most common and deadly type of crash seen in the real world. In laboratory crash tests, a WC19 wheelchair must not fail, must provide a supportive seat for the crash dummy, and must remain well secured to the simulated vehicle platform.

2. Easier and faster wheelchair securement

Using a WC19 wheelchair makes it faster and easier to secure the wheelchair in a vehicle because the wheelchair has four, clearly marked and easy-to-reach securement points where tiedown hooks and straps are attached. To comply with the standard, these points must be marked by a hook symbol and be accessible for one-handed attachment of tiedown hooks in less than 10 seconds for each strap. To simulate the limited space conditions on a bus, these tests are conducted with the wheelchair in a walled space where the person securing the system can only access one side of the wheelchair. The standard prohibits wheelchair frames that require difficult routing of tiedown straps through the frame or that have sharp edges that could cut the strap during crash loading or degrade the tiedowns over time.

3. Improved compatibility with proper use of seatbelts

As of May 2002, WC19-compliant wheelchairs must also provide the option of a wheelchair-mounted, crashworthy lap belt. Although many wheelchairs come with a belt meant for postural support, these are not designed to withstand impact loads or protect the rider during a crash. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.