Installing a stairlift in your home is an important and convenient option for seniors or mobility challenged people as it allows them to go up and down the stairs without the assistance of others. One of the main reasons for purchasing a stair chair lift is that it enhances the mobility and independence of people to a great extent. Leading dealers offer innovative models of straight and curved stair lifts equipped with advanced functionalities. Choosing an accessibility device for seniors or the mobility challenged requires home owners to evaluate their individual requirements and choose a specific model that best suits their needs.
Of all the factors, safety is a predominant factor that must be considered before selecting a stair chair lift model. Most new lift models come with a host of safety features that provide maximum safety to users without the chances of suffering any injuries. Depending on specific stair configuration and needs, users may require unique or additional safety features. Below listed are some prominent safety features that need to be checked before buying a stair lift model –
· Locking swivel seat — Often, exiting at the top of the stairs is a great concern for lift users as this poses the greatest fall risk. Locking swivel seat feature helps to safeguard this problem as it allows the user to turn towards the landing and exit forwards, rather than stepping sideways or stretching at an angle to reach the landing, which could result in awkward footing or loss of balance. The locking function of the seat allows it to be fixed either in a straight or swiveled position before the user gets on or off, so it won’t spin away underneath them and cause a fall. Top stairlift models are integrated with manual and powered swivel seat options. With powered seat option, users can maintain pressure on the lever or switch which operates the device and the chair is turned automatically by electric motors. Manual powered seat options allow users to turn the seat themselves by twisting their body.
· Lockable on/off or Key switch — All stairlift models will have a small key-operated switch in order to prevent unauthorized use of the lift, for example, by children. This key switch is usually located in the stair lift’s armrest — when the key is removed the lift becomes completely immobilized.
· Limit sensors — Fitted on the rail at the top and bottom, these sensors ensure that the device always stops in the correct position on the staircase.
· Seatbelt — Seatbelt or harness is a standard feature in all stair chair lifts which prevents users from slipping out of the seat. This form of lap belt is specifically important for perch or standing stair lift models where the users are unable to bend their hips or knees and a seatbelt keeps the user safe as the lift moves up or down the stairs.
· Obstruction sensors–Safety sensors detect any possible obstructions in the stairlift’s travel path, such as pets or objects that have been dropped, immediately stopping the chair so that it can be easily removed.
· Dual mechanical and electrical braking system — This braking system prevents the uncontrolled descent of the stair lift, in case of any motor failure.
· Emergency stop button — Emergency stop or brake system completely stops or brings the system operation to a halt (in case of an emergency) quickly without any sudden jerking movements.
· Speed governor — This prominent feature ensures that the lift carriage does not speed up on its way down the stairs, preventing dangerous speeds.
· Battery back-up power — With this feature, there is no risk of receiving an electric shock when the stair lift is operating.
· Adjustable seat height — In some stairlift models, the seat heights can be pre-adjusted, which assists users to transfer in and out of the device to a seat height that suits your individual needs.
Purchasing a stairlift requires users to check the above mentioned safety features. It is important to follow all safety instructions provided by the manufacturer before using the device as this will potentially reduce the risk of fall or injuries.