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A DIY Toddler's Wheelchair

by Frank Ewald

 

A toddler's wheelchair made out of a toddler floor seat, a food cutting board, bicycle wheels, and castors. What is happening at MotoIQ! There is no motor anywhere and no licence is required! Well, it is creativity at its finest. First off, I have to confess that this is not my idea. There are a bunch of different versions of this DIY wheelchair floating around on the Internet. Is this one better than them? Probably not, but it sure should be both lightweight and solid. The biggest difference is that you are reading about it, however, and that is where this toddler wheelchair is different.

Even more, hopefully it will fill a need for one or two of our MotoIQ readers and you will build your own version. Maybe for a relative or a friend who is not as talented with tools as you are. As many of you realize, my grandson is medically fragile and cannot walk. In fact, the disease that has afflicted him has also robbed him of much of his upper body strength also. This DIY wheelchair is just to allow him a different perspective on life with perhaps a little bit of motion tossed in as an extra. The other thing to realize is that the cost of this was under $200 - try to find any type of wheelchair for any age for that amount of money. Being physically challenged not only means facing untold struggles on a given day but it is very expensive. The public misconception is that everything is provided to those with challenges. Public Health services and private insurance do provide a lot of support, but there is still a lot that must come out of the family bank account.

 

The first step with the parts for any project is to lay things out and ensure that you have everything that you need. Plus you can get an idea of what your end result will look like. Here you can see the awesome effect of the variety of colours chosen really flows, sort of like the Harlequin Golf of a few years ago. (My wife thinks that this colour selection was purely random. She's partially right!)

You also need to know that my grandson has a fully functional electric wheelchair. In fact, he got his first electric wheelchair at just 16 months of age, so he is now an absolute pro at two years and seven months. This DIY Todder wheelchair is not intended to be his prime form of transportation. The intent is to give him a means of travel at floor level, to encourage him to use his arms (which are gradually gaining strength), and because his parents and I think it is cool.

 

We chose the Mega Seat for our project. This was our first obstacle, as it appears that they are no longer being made - most online listings indicating that they couldn't fulfill the order. We did find them, so grabbed two. The Mega Seat has a higher back which is beneficial in our case.

The first step was to look for the necessary resources. There are a few different brands of infant and toddler seats that are designed to be stationary while the little one sits in it and watches the world go by. The one that we wanted is known as the Mega Seat; another very popular one is called the Bumbo Seat. Clearly, the Bumbo Seat has the market share with such a cool name. The reason we wanted the Mega Seat is because the back of the seat is a few inches higher than its competition. Unfortunately, a quick trip to Amazon and e-Bay revealed that the Mega Seat was not available. That caused some side trips to Kijiji and Craigslist without much better success. Lots of searching and phone calls resulted in finding a brand new one sitting on a store shelf just a few hours from home in the Okanagan Valley - not far from where I participated in the Knox Mountain Hill Climb. Even better, it was just a few minutes away from a fellow racer who, as luck would have it, was coming to race at Mission Raceway Parks' road course. Not only did this allow me to get the Mega Seat, but it gave me a reason to get out to a race track also. Unfortunately, I do not know why the Mega Seat has seemingly vanished from stores - except that I bought two when I found them!

 

Castor wheels that do not mark floors are essential. These wheels came with brakes - not really useful in this application, as the bike wheels don't allow the castor wheel brakes to get any bite. The cutting board should be large - this one is 20" by 15".

 

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