Many people think that wheel locks and brakes do the same job, but they don’t. Depending on locks to slow down your wheelchair can be harmful to you and the chair. Do you find yourself using the wheel locks for turning or braking? Then you should look into integrated brakes.
The purpose of wheel locks are to keep your wheelchair in “park” while transferring into or out of your wheelchair or for when you are doing other daily activities. Once you know and understand how the various locking mechanisms work, you can choose the one that suits your lifestyle.
Push or Pull to Lock
The wheel lock used on most wheelchairs is the push/pull lock. A lever is pulled back or pushed forward until the bar is pressed into the tire. Although this kind of lock system is the most common, it might not be ideal for your purposes.
The push/pull lock system requires some strength and coordination to properly engage and disengage the lock, so make sure it works for you before making the final decision.
Wheel Lock Extensions
If your reach or strength is limited, lock extensions of various lengths are available to assist with independent operation. The give you more leverage to lock and unlock your wheelchair brakes. Be aware, the extra length can sometimes cause hand injuries from quick arm movements while in motion because of the wheels’ close proximity.
Scissors locks are for the active wheelchair user. These kinds of locks are level with the wheelchair frame, keeping the hands out of the way of potential injuries when not locked. There is a smaller more concealed design but it might be difficult to engage for those who have fine motor skill problems.
Wheel Hub Locks
Companies like D’s locks have created a hub locking mechanism that locks the wheels securely via the wheel hub instead of the fire. Much like a scissor locking mechanism, the hub lock model has a compact hidden lever that mounts flat to the wheelchair body. The braking system is activated by simply flipping the lever.
The locking pins springs out to find one of the 27 corresponding holes thereby locking the wheelchair. To disengage the locking system, move the lever back.
These are the 3 most common styles of locks but there still other variations that will meet any disability requirement. Do your homework and get any clarification to questions you might have. Once you know how you will be using your wheel locks most often will help you reduce your choices.
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