The Simple, Short Guide to Stairlift Safety
Stairlifts are tremendously useful and can prolong the time a senior is able to stay in their own home. When installed correctly, a stairlift is very safe for users and caregivers, but there are some safety guidelines you should be aware of if you have just had a new stairlift installed. Read on for a quick and simple guide.
Use the Seatbelt
Treat a stairlift just like your car. Seat belts, while not compulsory, really ought to be. Never use a stairlift without engaging the seat belt. Not wearing a seatbelt is the leading cause of stairlift accidents. A sudden jolt or a dizzy spell won’t lead to any harm if you are sitting down and safely strapped in, but without a seatbelt, you or your relative could tumble all the way downstairs.
Don’t Exceed the Weight Limit
All stairlifts have a maximum weight. Do not exceed this limit, even if it means making two trips. It’s not OK for someone else to hitch a ride with grandma on the stairlift, even if it looks like fun. Always check the weight limit before buying a stairlift, particularly if you or your relative are very heavy.
Watch Out for Pets
Many seniors are pet owners, and while pets bring a lot of joy to our lives, they can easily come to harm if they get caught up in a stairlift. They can also cause accidents if they get under a senior’s feet when they are trying to leave the stairlift at the top of the stairs.
Train pets to stay out of the way. With cats, a laser pen can come in handy, as it is a useful distraction that will keep them occupied for a few minutes.
Don’t Disembark Too Soon
Don’t be in too much of a rush to get up from the stairlift seat when it reaches its destination. Wait for the stairlift to stop and park. Only disembark when you are certain the stairlift has stopped moving.
Most stairlifts come with an immobilizer key. This prevents a stairlift from being used by an unauthorized person or a child. Keep your immobilizer key in a safe place and make sure you lock the stairlift when the grandkids come to visit. Otherwise, they might decide to play games on the stairlift, which could cause a serious accident.
Be Careful with Hot Beverages
Don’t take hot beverages upstairs unless they are in a sealed cup. If you spill hot tea or coffee, you could damage the electrics or end up with a nasty burn.
Don’t Attempt any DIY
Stairlifts sometimes stop working or succumb to technical problems. If this happens or your stairlift isn’t working quite as well as it should be, call in a service engineer. Do not make the mistake of tinkering with the electrics or stripping down the hydraulics. At best, you will invalidate any warranty, and at worst, you could cause you or the person who uses the stairlift, serious injury.
Make sure to stay safe, but only when you follow the guidelines, so read the instruction manual and always sit down when using your stairlift.
Editor Note: This article was written by Jacob Whitmore from the Stair Lift Guru to provide important safety information for seniors who use or are considering using a stairlift. Learn more about stairlifts at www.stairliftguru.co.uk.
About This Site
Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS - Founder/Editor
My name is Scott Grant and I work daily with seniors as a custom wheelchair specialist at a home medical equipment company. I see these people struggle as they lose their independence. I watch their families try to help them but most don't even know where to start. Few are even aware of their options. I WANT TO CHANGE THAT!
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