Recently, we have come to realise that there are massive gaps in the market when it comes to suitable products for disabled children. A few months ago, discussions began as to how to move Alfie into a room with older children at nursery.
The difficulty is getting Alfie up the stairs. With his CP and as he gets bigger and heavier, it is not safe for the staff at nursery to be carrying Alfie up and down the stairs.
The problem is there is not suitable product to safely get him up and down the stairs.
The nursery cannot have a stair lift because the building is old, and it would block too much of the stairs, making it unsafe for the staff and other children during emergency situations.
They also cannot have a lift as there is no room. We then started to look at stair chairs as it seemed like the most sensible option, yet that led to a whole other problem.
So many stair chairs are designed for disabled people, yet none are for disabled children. The harnesses do not offer sufficient support, nor do they adjust to be sufficiently small.
So, what could we do?
A simple solution seemed to be to use an adaptive chair on the stair chair to make it suitable, such as the GoTo Seat. We have had Alfie’s GoTo Seat for over a year now and love using it in a variety of ways to make chairs/equipment suitable, such as swings.
It seemed like a no-brainer to use the GoTo on a stair chair.
But this is where the legal problems came.
The GoTo Seat has never been tested with a stair chair to check its safety, and though the chair fitted perfectly, it would make the insurance void as it would be classed as an ‘adaption’.
We have searched long and hard for a suitable product, and short of paying in excess of £6,000 for a custom-made seat, we are at a loss.
We cannot afford to pay out £6,000 for a chair, and if we did, it would only be Alfie that could use it as it would be moulded for him.
No other child/person at the nursery could use it, and Alfie would soon grow out of it, so in reality, the custom-made seat is not an option.
At the moment we are still searching.
We love the nursery Alfie and Rory are in, and not only that, but it is a product vital for our home life too.
Our stairs are too narrow for a stair chair and Alfie is fast approaching a weight where he is too heavy for us to carry up and down the stairs.
We hope we can find something suitable soon, but this entire situation really has highlighted to us the huge gap in the market when it comes to products for disabled children.
I hope that as time progresses, companies start to consider this gap and cater for everyone, regardless of their age, size and ability.