Kids Up embraces movement

Saturday, May 31, 2008

BELGRADE, Mont.--The rigid old theory of holding kids fast in pediatric wheelchairs is loosening up as proponents of dynamic seating float new technology that allows kids to break the old rules.

Kids Up, the latest development by Kid Kart founder Wayne Hanson, is one of the proponents of the movement. Where traditional chairs seek to limit the amount of movement kids have in chairs, the Kids Up FAST chairs allow up to 35 degrees of hip extension and knee flexion.

“Our system enables stretching with the upper and lower extremities,” said Hanson. “We’ve not only provided active movement but developed it anatomically so we can give kids all the positioning they need but don’t limit their ability to move, period.”

The traditional method of seating is conservative. Kids are positioned to sit with legs, lap and torso at 90-degree angles as a way to optimize therapeutic posture and to minimize injury from sudden movement. That’s the clinical rationale. But Hanson notes another reason for the tradition: precedent.

“A lot of the profitability in this industry is in secondary support,” he said. “The industry has spent so many years talking about being in the proper position, instead of positioning to function, that it’s been ingrained.”

But that’s changing, according to some rehab suppliers.

“There’s beginning to be a sea change in how we seat pediatric patients,” said Tim Pederson, president of WestMed Rehab in Rapid City, S.D.

“It used to be that you would go for the 90-degree angles, at the knees and the hips. That was the gold standard. But no one sits like that.”

The clinicians that Hanson works with have been agitating for a chair that breaks the mold.

“These PTs and OTs --people who are real visionaries--have been urging for someone to make a dynamic system,” he said.

Hanson said he took note, did the engineering, and started production on a chair that’s started selling in a big way over the last month or two.