Most seniors have a problem when it comes to climbing or accessing stairs. A stair lift is the perfect solution that helps people move up and down the stairs safely in a seated position. When choosing a stair chair lift, it is crucial for homeowners to consider the individual needs of mobility challenged users and choose a model that best suits their requirements. Innovative models of stair lifts with advanced functionalities and features are offered by leading dealers. When selecting a stair chair lift, safety is one of the paramount factors that need to be considered. Modern accessibility devices come equipped with a wide range of innovative safety features that allow users to operate the device independently and without supervision, thereby preventing potential injuries. Here discussed are some prominent safety features that must be considered before choosing a specific stair lift model –
- Seat belt – Seat belt or harness is a common feature equipped in most modern stair chair lifts. Usually in the form of a lap belt, (which is adjustable to ensure a secure fit), this feature prevents the user from slipping out of the seat. Safety belts are essential on perch or standing lift models, wherein the users are unable to bend their hips or knees, and the seat belt keeps the user safe as the lift moves up or down the stairs.
- Obstruction sensors – Safety sensors will automatically detect an obstruction on the stairs such as pets or dropped items, stopping the lift operation immediately. Some models of stairlifts are also equipped with pressure-sensitive sensors around the footrest, stopping the seat from crushing anything which may come in its way.
- Speed governor – This feature ensures that the lift carriage does not speed up on its way down the stairs, preventing dangerous speeds.
- Lockable swivel seat – Using a lift to exit at the top of the staircase, generally poses the greatest fall risk. The swiveling seat option 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. This function can be fixed either in a straight or swiveled position. Top models of stair chair lifts feature manual and powered swivel seat options. With manual seats, users need to turn the seat themselves by twisting their body. In a powered swivel chair, users maintain pressure on the lever or switch which operates the stair lift and the chair is turned automatically by electric motors.
- Emergency stop – Emergency stop button or emergency brake system completely stops the lift movement (in case of emergencies) quickly without any sudden jerking movements.
- Limit sensors – Fitted on the rail at the top and bottom, the limit sensors ensure that the stair lift always stops in the correct position on the staircase.
- Lockable on/off or Key switch – This is a small key-operated switch usually located in the stair lift’s armrest. When the key is removed, the lift becomes completely immobilized. This safety feature will prevent unauthorized use of the lift, for example, by children.
- Dual mechanical and electrical braking system – This feature prevents the uncontrolled descent of the stair lift, in case of any motor failure.
Before purchasing a stair chair lift or curved stairlifts, make sure that all the above-mentioned safety features are included. Reading through the manufacturer’s safety instructions before using the device will help to reduce the risk of falls or injuries.