Friday, 22 July 2011

Buggy vs Wheelchair

Have you ever noticed how many different ways there are to transport a small child? 4 wheels, 3 wheels, pivoting wheels, adjustable handles, plenty of space around the child in case of knocks and bumps, extra carrying space for your shopping...

Somebody somewhere (or, more likely lots of somebodies in lots of somewheres) has put in an awful lot of time, energy and money deciding how tiny children can be safely transported with the minimum of effort on the part of the carer.

Now look at a wheel chair:

2 bike tyres with no way to pump them up. No way to change them.

Shopping trolley front wheels.

More often than not, due to lack of mobillity, the person sitting in the chair is bigger than the chair itself.

Now, I'd like you to ponder something. How much time does a small child spend in a buggy? If the parents don't drive, possibly 2-3 hours a day, maybe less. How long does a wheelchair user spend in their chair? Dude I work with finds transferring difficult, so (apart from using the shower, going to the loo and sleeping) he's in it all day. Around 12 hours. Opinions on a postcard, please!


  1. Never thought of that, y'know! Its funny though, having a buggy in a way made me realise how much our society is geared towards the abled as opposed to the disabled. Which is why I will always give my my buggy space to a wheelchair user, and it saddens me that a lot of people don't :-(

  2. You're not alone, Michelle. Ever noticed how flat pavements aren't?!

  3. Not to mention all the shops and other buildings with narrow doorways.

  4. Argh, yes! Doors that are quarter of an inch narrower than a wheel chair!

    Don't get me started on people who sit and gawp while you go through all sorts of contortions to open them...

  5. as a w/chair user all of what you have said its true - but i now have an awesum chair its a treknetic - give it a google - its the easiest thing in the world compaired to good ole nhs lol

  6. Gosh, that's a bloody good point. Are wheelchair users involved in designing wheelchairs? How does the process work? How to persuade people this is more worthwhile than the lucrative yummy mummy buggy industry?

  7. I don't know the ins and outs because I'm "just" a care worker - not an Occupational Therapist or engineer or designer. I just push the end product. Decent, lightweight wheelchairs are available if you have the dosh, just as there's a difference between a £30 supermarket buggy and a swanky branded travel system. Even for someone Neurotypical - ie, their only disability is physical - there is an immense battle to be had to get one that suits. For other disabled people, especially those with additional learning difficulties, there often isn't an option unless the family are prepared to take on the fight.

    As a carer, it's well out of my remit to take on the battle. Not because I'm unwilling (we have already got Dude some decent support/pressure cushions) but because it's not up to us to decide how and where he spends *his* money.

    The answer to your question is Profit. Wheelchair users buy one wheelchair (or the NHS does) and that's it. A "yummy mummy" buys one for the first baby, then one for when they get older, then a new one for the second child, plus all the add-ons like a buggy board... A far more lucrative market!