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Thread: Seat belt recommendations for a ZRA? (Also, pros and cons of having one?)

  1. #1
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    Seat belt recommendations for a ZRA? (Also, pros and cons of having one?)

    I've gone belt-less for the past, oh, 15 years now? But after the recent fiasco where I fractured my tibia after hitting a bump in the sidewalk and slipping right out of my chair, I can't help but think that the belt might have saved me. That, and a Freewheel, which I'll be looking into as well.

    So, any recommendations on brands to look at? I've had a friend suggest Bodypoint to me, and I do like their leg straps well enough, but I'm curious what else is out there. Something that I can wear when I'm out and about, and won't get in the way when I'm not wearing it, say, indoors at the office?

    Also, I'd love to hear more pros and cons from other folks about wearing a belt with a lightweight chair.

  2. #2
    A seat belt can get in the way of doing proper weight shifts frequently enough. In a lightweight chair, they also won't necessarily prevent you falling; just assure that the chair stays strapped to your butt while the whole thing flips. Do you have any dump in your seat in this chair?

    (KLD)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    A seat belt can get in the way of doing proper weight shifts frequently enough. In a lightweight chair, they also won't necessarily prevent you falling; just assure that the chair stays strapped to your butt while the whole thing flips. Do you have any dump in your seat in this chair?

    (KLD)
    Actually, I was thinking of only wearing the seat belt while I'm mobile, so I suspect it wouldn't be too much of an issue for weight shifting. And yeah, I figured that the wheelchair flipping with me could be an issue as well, but I wonder if I would have been less likely to have fractured something that way: a roll cage of sorts? The reason something broke this time was because I flew out in my seated position, landing feet first with the entirety of my body weight on them, rather than how I usually land, upper body first.

    I have about 3 inches of dump in this current chair (20" front, 17" back). It's taller and shorter than my last chair, so it took a little while to get used to, but I'm pretty stable in it otherwise, unless I hit things at high speed. I DO feel like (the sides of?) my front 5" soft roll casters catch on things like cracks more than my last chair though, but I haven't been able to figure out why.

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    Senior Member ChesBay's Avatar
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    I've never used a seat belt but have always have felt not having a belt gives me some control of how I am going to fall /land. I have a femur rod (im-nail) in my left leg so if I do go down I so far have been successful to avoid not having that leg under me. Might be kidding myself but feel if I take a fall I will get the best options on how and what I land on. I will say that I am much more careful to prevent falling than in my younger days.

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    Senior Member ChesBay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faji_tama View Post
    I've gone belt-less for the past, oh, 15 years now? But after the recent fiasco where I fractured my tibia after hitting a bump in the sidewalk and slipping right out of my chair, I can't help but think that the belt might have saved me. That, and a Freewheel, which I'll be looking into as well.
    curious , did you have frogs legs on chair dumped?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChesBay View Post
    Might be kidding myself but feel if I take a fall I will get the best options on how and what I land on. I will say that I am much more careful to prevent falling than in my younger days.
    That's exactly what I've always thought too, until this particular fall. I'd say I average 1-2 falls a year maybe, and maybe one close call every month. I have a tendency to speed around, but I'm also usually very aware of where I'm going and what the terrain looks like. This most recent fall was almost entirely a result of my mind being elsewhere and not noticing the huge crack: I had already cleared a good foot or so past the front of my seat before I even realized what was happening. Didn't even have a chance to grab on to the back of my chair like I usually do.

    The other reason though, was partly because of these casters of mine catching on the crack. The sides definitely feel like they catch more than my last chair, which ends up sending me along the edge of whatever they got caught on, rather than whatever direction I was going in. That said, no Froglegs though, just the Slipstream single fork + 5" aluminum soft rolls.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by faji_tama View Post
    . . . and a Freewheel, which I'll be looking into as well.
    I believe Freewheel offers a money back guarantee if you don't like it, and return it in resellable condition. I can't find that claim on their website, but I know they used to offer it. Ask them about it.
    Chas
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    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    The physics of a human/chair combo do not support an intelligent reason to have a seatbelt. 30lb. chair vs. 100+lb human. Having a metal chair frame attached to your body during an undesired event such as a fall doesn't seem safe at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasmengr View Post
    I believe Freewheel offers a money back guarantee if you don't like it, and return it in resellable condition. I can't find that claim on their website, but I know they used to offer it. Ask them about it.
    I have no doubt that I'll like it, but that's good to know! I going to try and see if I can get insurance to cover part of it, so fingers crossed on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    The physics of a human/chair combo do not support an intelligent reason to have a seatbelt. 30lb. chair vs. 100+lb human. Having a metal chair frame attached to your body during an undesired event such as a fall doesn't seem safe at all.
    Yeah, that's what everyone seems to say, but I can't help but think that with this past incident, it would have saved me from a fracture. Of all the falls I've had in the past five years or so, actually, I can't see a seatbelt having caused more trouble, except that one time I dumbly decided to take an escalator. Seat belt there might have killed me.

  10. #10
    Yes, there are pros and cons of seatbelts. In my experience I have used standard Velcro straps attached to the screws in the backrest - when not needed it was a chore to stuff them behind me, between my seat back and my back, while sitting in my chair. Then I went to a stretchy strap with a "snap" together closure. I keep it in my backpack and simply have it adjusted so I can easily strap it around the whole back of the chair and me, and click it shut in front. It sits low on my waist and hardly shows. I rarely have to use it, but nice that it's handy.

    That said, any seat belt should be worn with precautions! My husband, also paralyzed, turned over his handcycle on a downhill and the seatbelt he was wearing was still strapped on him as he lay on the ground fully out of the cycle. The first thing I said when help quickly arrived was "get the seatbelt off of him!". I could see it was pulled tight to his abdomen. The cut on his forehead required a few stitches but I was more concerned about that seatbelt digging into him.

    I agree that having the proper "dump" in your chair will help avoid a seatbelt. That is, the rear of your chair could be lower enough than the front so that you are tucked safely into your chair.

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