In-Vehicle Wheelchair Restraints: A Guide

Wheelchair restraints are typically used to secure wheelchairs inside vehicles in order to keep a user safe during transportation. Wheelchairs can be secured with either a wheelchair restraint belt or a wheelchair tether strap. Read on for more information on these two types of restraints and their appropriate uses.

Wheelchair Restraints: Belt vs Tether Strap

The type of restraint that will work best for you will depend on what type of chair you are transporting, and the weight of the person you are transporting. If the chair is light or has caster wheels, then the belt may be preferable, as it is faster to set up than a tether strap. If the chair is heavy, a tether strap will be required, which is typically harder to set up, but more secure.

Wheelchair restraint belts

When using a wheelchair restraint belt, it is important to ensure the seatbelt webbing is not twisted and that it fits snugly on the back of the chair. It should go over the top of where your wheels are attached to your frame. If you use a velcro fastener that is present on most restraint belts, then its location will vary, depending on whether you have a rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. For rear-wheel-drive chairs, put the velcro fastener toward the back; for front-wheel-drive chairs, put the Velcro fastener toward the feet or knees.

If you have an angled back or if your wheels are located at different places on the chair, you may need to reposition the restraint belt and readjust it several times before you get the right fit.

Wheelchair tether strap

A wheelchair tether strap uses a special type of attachment clip that will connect to your wheelchair's frame to secure it into place. Once the clip is attached, you should tighten the strap and check that the anchor points at secure. When using a tether strap, you can make sure to check that it is installed correctly by having an assistant tug on it once the chair is in position. It should be very difficult for them to move the chair around as long as the strap is correctly installed.

If the strap does not secure your chair in place, check for any loose or broken clips, and make sure each strap is secured as tightly as possible. You should always check with your chair manufacturer for advice on how to properly install your tether strap.

If you would like further advice and information, you should contact a company that supplies wheelchair restraints.