Deciding on which powerchair to get for your child, especially their first real one, can feel like a daunting task. A lot of SMA children who have the ability to control a powerchair from a young age start off with a Whizzybug which is a small motorised powerchair suitable for ages 2-5 (approximately), it gives them their first real taste of freedom and independence and the ability to join in and play with friends and family. It also prepares them for the next step in the powerchair world.
Unfortunately other than NHS options, you have to fund your desired powerchair if it’s not available through them, some of which can cost upwards of £20k.
It’s really important to think about what you want from a powerchair, what they will use it for, how long you foresee them having it, what functions it has etc… not to mention how you might be able to fund one. There are a lot of charities out there willing to help but most will require you to pay a portion of the cost.
With all these things in mind you should be more inclined as to which option to go for. For us we decided on a Tiny Trax (www.tinytrax.com). It’s a very personal decision choosing a powerchair and there are pros and cons to practically every chair available on the market. The main reason we chose the Tiny Trax was cost. It retails at around £6k depending on what extras you may need. Having bought a heap of other equipment all around the same time, our budget couldn’t stretch to anything more than this for the time being…. oh and the fact that it came in a choice of 500 colours also kind of swayed us a bit too 😉
The tiny trax is built in Bath and has offices in Bristol so you would need to factor in this when buying one as you might need to travel that way to get anything fixed or changed…
The website states the following…
“…….The new TinyTrax chair is the worlds lightest & most compact powered wheelchair for the age range 18 months to 10 years old. The TinyTrax does not need any additional parts as the child grows, due to the ‘Grow-with-me’ design. We want your TinyTRAX to fit into your life, not the other way round, so we made it so there is no need for specialist adapted mobility vehicles. To achieve this we used advanced lithium battery technology, integrated wheel motors as well as aerospace grade lightweight aluminium components.”
This provides the following key benefits:-
- From 18months up to 10 years old there is no need to purchase any additional seating or other components. The TinyTrax grows with your child. This saves on future costs. The maintenance costs are low averaging around £80–£100 per year. Optional MOT service costs only £95 + parts & labour if required.
- Weighing under 40kg, 2 Adults can lift TinyTRAX into the boot of their car fully assembled (the majority of children’s powerchairs weigh between 68–135kg).
- TinyTRAX can be easily taken apart without tools to 3 managable parts and lifted alone.
- Because TinyTRAX is so light and compact, there is no need for specialist vehicles. This means your child can travel with friends and family members in their vehicles providing you and your child with maximum freedom.
- Unlike larger chairs, TinyTRAX moves well in small spaces due to its very narrow rear and very small turning circle. This results in less knocking into things and ease of control for your child.
- Ability to set the seat height, with innovative High/Low function.
- Tilt-in-space, recline and standing and side transfer functionality.
The rep / owner will offer a demo first and then you’ll place your order with him, it is a one person company so you will be dealing with him from the start and he is easily contractable. For us it took around 6 months from demo to receiving the chair but it won’t normally take you this long (there was an office moved in between thereby delaying ours). You will be required to pay a 10% deposit on ordering so prepare to have about £600 readily available then prepare to be able to fund the rest upon collection.
We’ve had the tiny trax for a month now and it is literally a game changer for us, my daughter has so much more freedom and can keep up with her mates when they are running, she’s so proud of it and we get so many comments about it when we take it out.
Here are a list of pros and cons we have discovered so far…
- Long lasting battery, can go 2-3 school days without charging and will last an entire day if out and about moving all the time.
- looks fun / different and comes in 500 colours so you can have any combination you want
- If you take the battery out, I can just about lift it into the boot of the car on my own
- Grows with her until age 10
- Is super fast and you’ll have to do a very fast walking pace to keep up with it, although there is a very slow speed for indoor use.
- Seats are comfortable and it comes with various supports for back / hips etc
- Much cheaper that other powerchairs on the market
- does not have an seat up/down option so you’re at the same height no matter what (although it does grow with them)
I can’t think of any other cons at the moment, we are still very much at the beginning of our tiny trax adventures but it’s fair to say my daughter absolutely loves it and because of that we love it too.
Check out the website www.tinytrax.com.