Special needs stroller: choosing the best for need and comfort

Traveling is part of everyday life, especially if you have a special child who needs to go to doctor’s appointments, physiotherapist visits, special school attendance, and even family gatherings or just to go to the park or go with you to the mall.

I have even seen some parents jog with their kids in their stroller. What an awesome sight!

Thus, a special needs stroller, or an adaptive stroller, is a most essential companion for parents and caregivers for easy mobility.

 

 

When planning to buy, what do you have to keep in mind? Is it the price? Durability, comfort, beauty?

Lots of reasons perhaps. So, what is the best special needs stroller out there? How do you choose one for your child?

Reasons for buying a stroller

1. Need–          Do you have frequent visits to doctors and therapists, or does your child go to school at least 3 times a week?

2. Comfort-    Is it the right fit for your kid for him to be comfy for long hours of sitting or lying down?

3. Price –          Do you want something that is not so pricey, anyway your child will outgrow the stroller soon or is it okay with you to pay more now, anyway he can use it for years to come?

4. Durability – Is your child on the heavy side or is older that something which will not wear out soon needs to be bought for him?

5. Disability–   Is your child unable to walk at all or have stiff joints that prevent him to be moved easily to fit in the stroller?

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When to buy

Foremost, you have to consider the need to decide when to purchase your stroller. Definitely, you will need one when you go out every week or even just twice a month for those appointments for your child.

You also have to consider that your kid will have mobility issues for some years because he will have delayed developments of some motor capabilities, like in children with Down syndrome, so deciding when to buy is critical.

Plan on the long term use so you can decide well on what to buy. Be open to the idea that your child will walk later than normal kids and when he learns to walk, it will take a while for him to have full balance.

If your child has disabilities that need to be addressed, consult your physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor for proper advice on what type of adaptive stroller to buy.

Depending on where you live, some government health insurance may pay for these devices for your special child. Your private health insurance might be able to help as well. You just have to inquire, who knows you don’t need your pocket at all or you might pay only partial of the whole amount.

Click here to look at varieties of adaptive strollers

 

I am introducing 3 adaptive strollers for you to choose from. Of course, there are lots of choices out there but these 3, based on my research, are very useful for the kids with special needs. This review will somehow give you ideas when you are ready to buy one for your child.

Reviews on 3 strollers

1. MacLaren Major Elite Transport Chair

Price: CDN$ 551.00; USD $499.00
  • Its basic weight  is  7.7kg/16.9lb
  • It is ideal for children age 6 months and weighs up to 50kg/110lb.
  • When open, it measures:      L x W x H  92 x 53.5 x 108 cm; 36 x 21 x 42.5 in
  • If folded, it measures : L x W x H 115 x 27.5 x 22.5 cm ; 45 x 11 x 9 in
  • It has high-performance aluminum frame, ergonomically optimized
    handles, full swiveling front wheel and brakes on each rear wheel
  • This is available in AMAZON

PROS:

  • This transport chair is ideal for both small and even big kids who are too heavy but unable to walk by themselves.
  • It is lightweight, sturdy, easy to open, and fits in the back of the car.
  • It runs smoothly on rough surfaces and is very easy to handle.
  • It is very comfortable and a kid will enjoy sitting in it.
  • The seat is wide and allows room to grow for a special needs child.
  • It is perfect for traveling, easy to fold and set, and super light to carry.
  • The swiveling front wheels make the stroller maneuverable in tight spaces.

CONS:

  • The foot rest has to be removed to close, thus, a hassle when traveling buy bus or train.
  • It has squeaky, loud wheels.
  • The front wheels don’t spin easily on very smooth surfaces, like tiles in a mall.
  • The seat depth is a little too shallow, so little kids have a tendency to slide down.
  • One buyer’s experience: The left steer wheel became very stiff and the stroller cannot be turned, and the wheel came off totally when he straightened it.
  • Amazon return policy is 4 months and MacLaren is 2 months, after which, they don’t accept returns if they get broken.
  • Hood and lateral supports have to be bought separately.
“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us
to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from
qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the 
Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

2. Trotter Lightweight Adaptable Stroller

adaptive stroller with transit tie-downs

Price: USD $ 1,810.00

  • The dimension in its smallest size : 53 x 12.8 x 17.8 inches
  • The smallest size has a basic weight of 19 lbs ( 24 lbs with front rigging )
  • It is ideal for simple transportation because it has a lightweight folding frame with closure straps
  • The range of weight capacity is  75 to 250 lbs ( available in 4 sizes )
  • It comes with optional transit or school bus tie-downs, which is really good for school transport
  • Click here to buy

PROS:

  • It has swing- away or removable foot rests for easy getting in and out.
  • It comes with 5-point harness to keep child safe and comfy.
  • Simple adjustments allow to grow with your child.
  • It has adjustable seat depth, depending on the size of your child.
  • It provides easy curbside navigation with tipping assist lever.
  • Free shipping if you buy here

CONS:

    • There is a wide wheel base so when turning to left or right, the front wheel seems to get caught.
    • The chair is on the tall side, thus, not ideal for short kids.
    • It is quite bulky and heavy.
    • It is difficult to fold and unfold at first- you need a certain time to get used to it.
    • It is not easy to control on an uneven surface.
    • It has limited two year warranty

3. Special Tomato Special Needs Jogging Stroller

Price: USD $ 799.00

  • This is ideal for children up to 110 lbs
  • The lightweight aluminum frame allows it to be folded easily
  • When open, it measures  :     L x W x H 42″ x 26″ x 43″
  • If folded, it measures : L x W x H 33″ x 21″ x 16″
  • It is durable, thus ideal for long use
  • It has a reclining seat ( recline range 100 to 140 degrees ).
  • The stroller weighs -27 lbs
  • Click here to buy

PROS

  • With 5-point harness to keep child safe and comfy
  • It is very comfortable for long trips.
  • The stroller for a jogging parent
  • It rolls really well ; the 12″ pneumatic tires works well both on smooth streets and rugged terrain
  • The front wheel can lock in place during jogging.
  • Free shipping if you buy here

CONS

  • Basket under the stroller has to be bought separately
  • Takes a bit of space when folded up

Is it time to buy?

Special needs strollers or the adaptive strollers are definitely a necessity for our special kids with mobility issues.

Your kids are able to walk probably at this point, but then they get tired easily with long walks.

For those with wheelchairs, you might still consider buying an adaptive stroller for them because wheelchairs are usually bulky and heavy.

My final word

Remember to always  consult your child’s physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor for advice as to what specific adaptive stroller will fit your child to address his mobility and disability needs.

After all, your child’s comfort is foremost in your mind, as well as your need to consider your budget because these strollers are not on the cheap side.

Lastly, put inquiry to your health insurance, private or government,  if they will pay your mobility device.

 

Click here to find more options for your adaptive strollers and devices

 

Have you used several adaptive strollers through the years? Did your child prefer one over the other? Please let us know your experiences in the comments below.

 

 

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Published by

Marita

I am a doctor by profession who had several years of clinical practice as a Pediatrician and General Practitioner. At present, I work as a Clinical Research Assistant in a large university. Pangga ta ikaw remembers fondly a loved one who passed away and making her demise more meaningful. Supporting children with special needs in our hometown in the Philippines through Special Education is our main focus and through this website, we also aim at making everyone realize that special kids need our love and support.

14 thoughts on “Special needs stroller: choosing the best for need and comfort”

  1. Hi,
    That’s a very interesting article that you have done there. It’s quite educative, too, and can help us in making a decision on what stroller to buy.
    .
    I have a question as to whether or not there are strollers that are designed to adapt with a special kids age- such that it is the same stroller bought when they were but infants, then as they grow the canopy (for instance) ceases to be needful, but still the kid is dependent on being pushed, but with a more mature age they are able to use the same stroller, but now designed to help move themselves about? (of course depending on their ability/disability)
    .
    Boniface from SmileAfresh

    1. Hi Boniface,

      Thanks for reading my post/review. Yes, there are adaptive strollers with different sizes depending on the child’s age and weight. 

      If you clink on the links it will show you choices in the website. 

      It is also important to consult your child’s physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor to help you in making the choice and this will depend on your child’s disability, age, and weight.

      God bless,

      Marita

  2. Great article. As someone who has worked with and has friends who have special needs children, it is very informative. Thanks for taking the time to investigate and sharing.

  3. Very informative. I liked the layout of the article. It was easy to maneuver around. I liked the pictures of the different strollers along with the pros and cons. Thanks for taking the time to write about the strollers. I have worked with special needs kids and know how hard it is to maneuver a stroller around. I have several friends who will be looking for this article.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience about working with special kids and how you had a challenge using their strollers. This stresses the importance of choosing the most suitable adaptive stroller for our special kids, so both the caregiver and the child will be comfortable during its use.

      If your friends plan on buying  some special needs strollers, this post will surely provide them with  useful ideas and guidance before they purchase one .

      God bless,

      Marita

  4. Great article and I’m glad to see that there is even one in there for the runners! Additional photos that showed the strollers collapsed might be helpful, but the links to the products for purchasing are helpful.

    Thanks for doing the research and for sharing! It’s always great to get someone’s perspective on a product before we buy!

    1. Hi Jen,

      Yes, parents can jog with their kids on a jogging stroller. Awesome, right?

      Sorry, I was not able to find a picture with the collapsed stroller, I just shared a buyer’s experience.

      Thanks for passing by.

      God bless,

      Marita

  5. Each time I read “special strollers” which is rarely but it happens; I get so sad. My baby sister had one. She had a specific red stroller chair that sustained her neck and other parts of her body. It was thanks to sites like these that we found it. Unfortunately, she passed away within time.

    1. Hi Linda,

      I’m so sorry about the passing away of your sister. How old was she then?  I know how it feels losing a loved one because I also lost my sister 4 years ago.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

  6. Very informative article. I have family members with children with special needs and this would benefit them very much. It is nice like you say to see parents jogging with their kids in the strollers. These cool strollers are awesome and you have made a great selection with good reviews. Thanks for sharing. 

    1. Thanks Andrea for reading.

      Strollers are so important for our special kids especially for everyday use and for travel to their appointments and even to school. Thus, parents need to be very selective on what to buy so they are useful for a long time.

      Jogging strollers are really cool. Aside from letting the parent have a good exercise, the kid will also be happy outside to enjoy nature and breathe some fresh air.

      Cheers,

      Marita

  7. Thank you for this great review of available strollers for special needs. From my years as a teacher, I know how important it is for special needs children to be mobile when they need to be. It’s nice to see the jogging stroller option. That’s a nice addition since I last checked these out.

    Having the option for the child to rest and ride is important no matter how mobile they are or how often you need to go out. And it’s always nice to get out, even for short outings, to get fresh air and enjoy a change of scenery.

    Thanks for the overview of these options! 🙂

    1. Hi Stella,

      These strollers for special needs children are really helpful even if they are able to walk because they get tired easily and they have to rest as you said.

      The jogging strollers are so useful for both parents and kids because they are all able to exercise ( at least for the parents ) and like you said, inhale some fresh air and enjoy the scenery.

      Thanks for visiting again.

      Marita

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