Being dependent on a wheelchair is not necessarily a good feeling, especially not for children who want to keep up or play with their peers, or who simply want to look over the barrier into the enclosure at the zoo by themselves. The chassis, which has been reduced in size by 30 percent, makes the power wheelchairs, which have been specially developed for children, extremely maneuverable, thus enabling active and self-determined participation in everyday life - right from childhood. The path to optimal child care is now much easier. Since mid-October, the PR 35S children's standing wheelchair has had an aid number - 18.99.03.2038 - as has its brother, the PR 35 children's wheelchair without standing function - 18.99.06.1141.
"Inquiries in the area of children's care have increased significantly recently," says Stefan Ludwig, head of wheelchair systems at PARAVAN GmbH. "This has motivated us to develop a wheelchair specifically designed to meet the needs of children." Agility and suitability for everyday use, even for the smallest users, were particularly important to the Swabian tinkerers. The standing wheelchair is suitable from a height of approx. 1.10 meters. The PR 35 was developed primarily for children with neuromuscular diseases or paraplegia and can already be used at preschool age.
During development, attention was also paid to the use of particularly quiet motors so that, for example, no disturbing noises occur during school lessons. In addition, the PR 35 series wheelchairs are very narrow, so that even in small classrooms they can be driven around easily and the wheelchair fits behind the school desk. In addition, thanks to front-wheel drive and in combination with the large tires, the small passengers can also overcome curbs without any problems or sometimes travel on somewhat imponderable terrain.
The PARAVAN PR 35 series has a flexible seat shell concept that "grows with the user in all directions," says wheelchair expert Ludwig. The seat and back width or seat and back length as well as the leg length can be adjusted completely individually and also grow with the user. Standing, lying down, tilting - all functions are possible, just as with the adult models.
The compact PR 35S stand-up wheelchair is equipped with a biometric gliding back, similar to its big brother, the PARAVAN PR 40 - which already has an aid number - as well as an individually adjustable headrest with side support and knee pads for optimal support in the standing function. The standing wheelchair has a memory function that is stored via the RNet control system. The standing curve can thus be stored directly. "At the push of a button, the child then automatically moves into the familiar and optimal standing position," says Ludwig.
The color selection also leaves no child's wishes unfulfilled, from fairy purple to dino green, everything is possible. And once Princess Lillifee is no longer “cool”, the chassis covers can also be changed, depending on what's in fashion at the time - how about strawberry red or Smurf blue?
Even during development, the power wheelchairs were tried and tested with children. "This feedback gave us important development impetus," says Ludwig. The chassis reduction by 30 percent, and thus the significantly smaller installation space, posed a particular challenge for the tinkerers from the Swabian Alb.
"This allows us to cover many children's fittings that are otherwise difficult to implement in a way that is suitable for children," explains Matthias Enneper, wheelchair sales representative and, as a rehab child consultant, specially trained in the needs of children. With the large wheels, he says, it's easy to drive over the curb. "With front-wheel drive, routine and a little bit of courage, we can do the seven inches," Enneper says. "The important thing is that the child says this is my wheelchair." With an active wheelchair, a child can struggle to keep up with peers. "Participation also means taking part at eye level," says the rehab child expert. "Sitting is something the child can do at home, but the child doesn't get anything out of that."
Since the market launch a good nine months ago, there has been great interest, whether from medical supply stores or the social pediatric centers, which have been open again since September. "Since then, we have seen steady demand," Ludwig reports. Internationally, too, the PR 35S in particular is a model that is very much in demand, he says.
The first customers have already been able to try out the new PR 35S. "Finally standing again," said a delighted nine-year-old boy, for example, who suffers from a neuromuscular disease and has been unable to stand independently for six years. With the new wheelchair model, he will be able to move around his boarding school much more independently and flexibly in the future, the parents, for whom the standing function was particularly important, are certain. "Children's product development is something very individual and special" reports wheelchair expert Ludwig, "the fact that you can put a smile on the children's faces is the greatest reward.“