With the number of companies specialising in wheelchair chest harnesses and the wide variety of wheelchair harnesses that each manufacturer develops, it may be quite difficult to choose the one that's perfect for you. When choosing a chest harness, remember that the most important thing for you to ensure is that is fits properly and comfortably.
A proper fitting harness fits right across the wheelchair user's chest. It is important that the harness doesn't move around when it is in use. To make sure of this, you must make sure to fit and test the harness before making the purchase. When the harness is fitted to the wheelchair ask the wheelchair user to move around in all directions. If the harness supports the wheelchair user properly without discomfort and undue movement restraint then it is most probably worth buying.
Because of the wide variety of wheelchair harnesses available in the market, you, no matter what size or build, should be able to find one that fits to your wheelchair and body type correctly and best suits your needs.
Standard wheelchair harness styles include :
- H Style
- X Style
- Backpack Style
There are also many different sizes to choose from as standard harnesses are available anywhere from extra small all the way to extra large.
The most commonly purchased wheelchair chest harnesses are linear types because these often fit adults of average size. There are also pediatric wheelchair harnesses available for children and individuals with relatively small frames. Furthermore, wheelchair harnesses can be customised to fit any specific person. These can even contour according to the body shape of the user.
More often than not, chest harnesses are made of a specific type of foam with fabric wrapped around it. Harnesses are generally elasticated to allow the wheelchair user(s) to move while still being strapped in, movement is restricted but not completely stopped.
When using a wheelchair harness you must be sure that you are familiar with the required safety measures. In addition to this, you must keep in mind that chest harnesses are not made as substitutes for seat belts. These products are made for wheelchair users to ensure proper posture and minimise back strain.
They are not meant to protect wheelchair users from injuries during accidents, so it is still necessary to make use of appropriate restraints when using them in vehicles.