How to Choose a Walker for Your Disabled Child
Sadly not all children are able to walk independently for a multitude of reasons and often this is the one goal both the child and parents want to achieve most. Helping these children achieve their first steps can be the most satisfying part of a paediatric physio’s job. Our highly specialist team of paediatric physiotherapists can help recommend different types of walkers that may be suitable for your child and arrange a trial for you.
There are lots of things to consider when choosing a walker:
How quickly is your child growing?
Where will the walker be used? At home or at school? Indoors or outdoors?
Is your child motivated to walk?
How much support does your child need?
Where do they need the support?
Do they have good head control?
Do they have a stepping pattern?
Is their stepping affected by increased tone and scissoring of their legs (crossing their legs at the ankles)?
Do they want to be able to kick a ball? Do they want to be able to stand at a table?
Here are some of the most commonly used walkers:
Kidwalk by Leckey
This is designed for children with more complex walking issues and offers support at the head, trunk and pelvis. The Kidwalk does not have a frame in front so your child can be hands free and stand at a table or kick a ball. It also moves up and down as the child takes a step and allows for lateral weight shift.
Mustang by R82
This provides excellent and snug support for the upper body whilst also keeping the child’s pelvis gently supported. The upright, slightly forward leaning position stimulates the walking function and encourages the child to participate in daily activities. The Mustang can be used by e.g. CP children and others with lack of balance and impairment of their motor function. The Mustang is developed as a basic anterior walker but can also be used as a posterior gait trainer, depending on the child’s level of ability.
Pony by R82
The Pony is a gait trainer for disabled children. The Pony has a frame shaped like an arrow with five castors. A central bar holds the chest support and the seat with pelvic support. The bar can be tilted forwards to stimulate walking. Between the legs is a plate to counteract scissoring. The Pony is for indoor use. The Pony is available in four sizes and suitable for children between the ages of 1½ – 12 years. Not all children are alike – that is why it is important to use the measuring chart to find the correct size.
Meywalk by Symmetrikit
Suitable for children with mild to moderate needs. The Meywalk has some chest support and a sprung saddle that moves up and down when the child is walking. The meywalk is easy to get in and out of and be used indoors and outdoors. The child can steer it using their body weight and there is a bar to hold onto if needed.
Buddy Roamer by Symmetrikit
This a posterior walker designed for moderate to complex needs and allows the child to be supported from behind and allow them to use their hands.
Dynamic posterior walkers suitable for moderate to complex needs. The walkers open at front and sides and have plenty of stepping room. They move up and down to follow the rise and fall of the pelvis and to help with weight relief.
Mowego from a1active
Suitable for mild to moderate needs. The walker features padded trunk support and the saddle height is adjustable. Flip away supports make transfer easy.
Gaitmaster from a1active
For children with mild to moderate needs who need help with weight bearing. Easy to transfer with gas spring height adjustment. The walker is secure and light to move.
Activall from a1active
For mild to moderate needs. Secure and adjustable padded supports. A removable central guide and a saddle harness for extra peace of mind.
There are so many different types of walkers on the market it can be a little daunting to know where to start, and having some guidance from a professional can make the process a bit easier. We can also offer unbiased opinion as to whether or not the walker is suitable for your child. Contact us to book your child’s assessment with one of our paediatric physiotherapists on 0207 884 0374 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.