Posted on Leave a comment

Cycling with disabled children

Children who have a disability that affects their mobility can find it difficult to be included in family and friends’ activities. We don’t want any child with special needs to miss out on the opportunity of getting outside and enjoying the freedom of having wind in their hair! Cycling offers a fun and effective way for children of all abilities to enjoy new levels of independence, individual challenge and social contact. Through gentle and controlled limb and joint exercises it teaches coordination and rhythm, develops body and environmental awareness and promotes strength, stamina and general health. And just the fact that they can do the same activity as everyone else is so important for them to feel included and involved.

We all remember our first bike and falling off!

Having your own bike or “wheels” is a rite of passage that sets you on the path to independence. The freedom and thrill to travel in a direction of your own choosing at your own speed…….whether it’s round your garden, a park or out with friends is second to none! Children with special needs can’t always get on their own bike. but they can still have that special feeling of freedom using a trailer, carrier or tag-a-long.

Working out how to cycle with your child when they’re not able to pedal a bicycle by themselves can sometimes seem an overwhelming task. Our experts at Freedom for Kids are here to help families understand the different options available, and if required, help you to seek charity funding where financial assistance is required.

Freedom for Kids has Special Needs Bikes and Child Bike trailers suitable for disabled children allow your whole family to explore trails, go mountain biking, cycling together in the countryside or around town. Disabled children no longer have to miss out on the great outdoors with our fantastic selection of bicycle trailers for children from 1-9 years old.

When children are babies and toddlers, there are plenty of choices, for travelling up front or in the rear in a trailer. However, as children get older and the majority move onto riding their own bikes, for children with disabilities or other special needs, it’s not always possible to move onto a two-wheeled pedal bike, so what are the options as your child gets older and heavier? Here’s a few ideas of the ways you can continue to cycle as a family as your child gets older.

Cargo Bikes

Cargo bikes are another good way of transporting children of all ages. For younger children, the new super-cool Joggster Velo combines all the advantages of our popular Joggster Pushchairs with the flexibility of a bicycle trailer and has enough space for two! Ideal for our younger passengers up to 5 years old, it can accommodate twins, siblings or one child and storage room. There are even options for a parent-facing double carrycot and a baby seat. Perfect for sporty families who love the great outdoors, you can push, jog or bike your way around with your little ones in tow!

Whilst child seats and cargo bikes are a great option and are a very popular way for parents to transport their younger children, they have the disadvantage that the child is not partaking in the cycling themselves – they are merely a passenger. Some kids are happy with that, but others will want to get involved.  So, what are the options available if your child can’t make the transition to a two-wheeled pedal bike?

Trailer Bike or Tagalong for children with special needs

A trailer bike, also known as a tag-a-long may be a good option for your child/children.  They have the freedom of pedaling whilst being pulled along behind an adult bike, and can coast along when they get tired. There are a number of different options available, although most tend to just have a regular bike seat.

If your child needs more support, it’s worth looking at the two different models of the Weehoo bike trailers, which are suitable for children who can hold on but who may or may not want or be able to pedal. There are options for one or two children and cargo carriers (large panniers) for carrying everything you need on your trip out.   Foot straps on the pedals and the adjustable 3-point harness with chest buckle help keep the child secure during the ride.  Hand grips give children something to hold on to and the sprocket and chain are enclosed to keep little fingers grease free and away from harm. There is also a Weehoo Two available if you need to transport twins or two children by bike. Canopy and rain cover accessories are sold separately.

Trailer Trike

With a trailer bike or tagalong there is only a single wheel touching the ground. This means they may feel rather wobbly, especially at speed. This can prove problematic for some children, plus as mentioned additional assistance may be needed with the mounting and dismounting process.  An alternative is a trailer trike, which has two wheels to give a good level of stability for the child being towed, and won’t tip over when you come to a halt.

Independent Bike or Trike

If using an independent bike or trike, for safety reasons, ensure you are aware of your child’s road sense and sense of danger, visual, perceptual and hearing skills and spatial awareness. Spatial awareness is a complex mental skill which allows children to understand their own location and the location of objects in relation to their bodies. In understanding this children then come to learn concepts such as direction, distance and location.

Funding Advice about Bicycles and Tricycles for children

Specialised bikes and trikes may be more expensive than standard cycles and are not funded by local authorities. We can help you find charitable funding for your child and if you’re buying a specialised bike or trike, they will be exempt from VAT. Not all our bike trailers are classed as mobility equipment and some will have VAT applied.

If you require a quote to apply for funding through a Sports Charity or one of the general disabled children’s charities, please contact us and we will be more than happy to prepare a quotation for you. If you would like to talk to us about your family needs, and get expert advice and guidance, please call us and we can talk you through the options we offer and the charity funding process. Please Call Our Helpline: 01670 458624 Today

Posted on Leave a comment

Flexible Seating Solutions

Finding a flexible seating system can be an overwhelming task but we’re here to help you find the best one for your child. There are a few basic questions that you need to ask yourself. Here are four to get you started.

Home: Special needs seating systems at home can be diverse. One type of adaptive equipment that is versatile enough to meet many different applications for special needs seating are the Special Tomato Soft Touch Sitters. These adaptive seating systems comes in 5 sizes and 3 different bases that can be fixed or on wheels. This versatility allows this special needs seating system to be used throughout the home for different purposes.

School: In a school setting, mobile seating systems offer the ability to keep a child positioned in their seating system, but still move them around the classroom to different stations as well as move them around the school. This cuts down on the need for multiple seating systems saving the school money. It also allows the child to spend more time learning and interacting with others. The Soft Touch Sitters can be used on Mobile Bases or on Special Tomato Pushchairs allowing a child to use them indoors or on school trips outdoors.

Around the Town: Special needs portable seating solutions are a great option for children who need some support to sit up, but either don’t require a wheelchair or, the wheelchair is too bulky or unsuitable to access where you want to go. The Special Tomato Sitter (and Special Tomato 2-Piece Liners) are designed to give pelvic, and trunk support, for those with mild positioning needs. Another part of their design is that they are created to be portable and versatile to attach to a variety of standard chairs, bases or pushchairs.

The Special Tomato Soft-Touch Sitters are an adaptive seating system that provides support in a variety of sitting positions. The Soft-Touch Sitters come in four different variations:

  1. Sitter Only
  2. Sitter with Floor Wedge (Sizes 1 – 3 Only)
  3. Sitter with Stationary Base
  4. Sitter with Mobile Base

All of the Sitters come with Attachment Straps as a standard feature. This allows you to securely attach the Sitters to a stable dining chair, classroom chair, Special Tomato Pushchair or any of the Special Tomato Bases: Floor Wedge, Stationary Base or Mobile Base.

Getting Around: When it comes to special needs equipment, mobility is of paramount importance. The ability to move freely is essential for child and carer, providing children with solutions for interacting and engaging like never before. Using a mobile special needs seat means a child can easily be rolled from one room to another for mealtime, playtime, bath time and beyond, providing your child with extra freedom of movement. 

Getting the Right Size: It is always important to order a special needs seating system to fit your child now. However, you also want to make sure that there will be years of growth available in the adaptive seating system that you purchase. Most special needs seating systems have plenty of growth built into them. Your child’s most important measurements for fitting a special needs seating system are:

  • Hip Width – corresponds with width of the stander
  • Chest Width – corresponds with width of the stander
  • Shoulder Width – corresponds with width of the stander
  • Seat to Top of Head – corresponds with height of the seat back
  • Seat to Top of Shoulders– corresponds with height of the seat back
  • Thigh Depth – corresponds to the seat depth
  • Foot to Back of Knee – corresponds to the footrest to seat height
  • Weight – corresponds with the maximum weight capacity of the stander

The Sitter with Floor Wedge allows for your child to be fully supported while on the floor. This level of seating is great for interaction between children with special needs and peers that are playing on the floor. The Stationary Base allows children to be close to the floor without caregivers having to transfer them all the way down to the floor. The Stationary Base is equipped with furniture glides to protect your floors. The Mobile Base is the same as the Stationary Base, with the addition of wheels to allow you to move your child around the room or from room to room. Whether it’s circle time at school, playing with friends and siblings at home, eating with the family at the dinner table or “chilling out” with the rest of the family at home, the Special Tomato Soft-Touch Sitters provide exactly the flexible and adaptive seating support that you and your child needs.

The Special Tomato Sitters are intended for children with mild to moderate positioning needs. The special needs Soft-Touch products are made from Special Tomato’s soft to the touch material that has anti-microbial properties, is impermeable to fluids, as well as latex-free and peel- and tear-resistant.

Standard Features Include:

  • Attachment Straps for different Sitter Bases, other standard chairs and strollers
  • Soft contoured seat with anti-thrust seating surface
  • Built-in abductor
  • Contoured head and lateral supports
  • Adjustable 8-point positioning harness that is removable for cleaning
  • 5 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty

Is this Product Right for You?

  • Support for the head back and pelvis is needed in a seated position
  • Supported sitting is a goal for your child
  • Be sure to check Seat Depth, Seat Width & Seat to Top of Head Height to find the right size
  • Questions? Our experienced parents are here to help – Call 01670 458624

Our experienced staff can help you with a proper fit… simply call us on 01670 458624 for advice and support.

Posted on Leave a comment

All-Terrain Buggies for Disabled Children

Freedom for Kids offer a range of special needs pushchairs that provides parents and carers of disabled children the opportunity to enjoy life with a new perspective of adventure. Perfect for everyday walks, country parks, woodland/mountain trails, day trips to the beach and theme parks….our rugged single and double buggies do it all while providing a comfortable ride for your children – we don’t believe in limits, don’t let your equipment keep you from your adventures and time together as a family!

Ideal for children with mild to moderate needs, whether it be a physical disability, behavioural condition, neurodevelopmental or brain disorder like Autism (ASD/ADHD) or a life-limiting condition that makes it difficult to walk and get outdoors. Our all-terrain buggies allow children to access places where a smaller pushchair or wheelchair just can’t go like nature trails, country parks and woodlands, even the beach! These all-access pushchairs can really help you to get out with your child and change your life, helping them to pursue a more active and inclusive lifestyle, improving the quality of life for the whole family.

No boring models here….all-terrain styling provides a non-medical appearance which is aesthetically pleasing for children and parents alike. Reclining seats provide increased comfort and support for those passengers that need to take a nap or have medical conditions that may require them to be in a reclined position e.g. Epilepsy. Some buggies come with optional postural supports so for those children that lack upper body strength and trunk control, this allows them to be fully engaged with their surroundings.

For children with autism and sensory processing disorders, some of our pushchairs have large canopies that create a “cocoon” effect with the covered sides and overhead protection – this is ideal for those children who can become overwhelmed with the sensory input or for those children who are sun or light sensitive. We can also add additional sun protection to some of our pushchairs, although in the all-terrain category this is limited as these pushchairs are designed for you to be out and about exploring.

So, let’s explore some options………

The Mountain Buggy Duet offers robust engineering and superior functionality in a compact all-terrain pushchair for two younger children. The ideal choice for parents who have a disabled child with medical needs and a sibling, or two disabled children, possibly twins. This all-terrain double buggy is not only a great off-roader but just as happy nipping around town. So, you’re no longer limited getting out and about with your children as you can take your duo and their equipment with you! This pushchair is also available as a single seat and a side bag, handy for keeping medical equipment or shopping.

The Mountain Buggy Duet is the smallest side by side twin pushchair on the market at a compact 65cm wide.  Practical and versatile for newborn twins, baby and toddler or two toddlers up to age 4 years old.

We provide this option for our younger/smaller children and their siblings. Although not specifically designed for children with special needs, this double buggy may be suitable for some parents whose children have either outgrown their standard pushchairs or those requiring a buggy with a parent-facing option, perhaps where their child has medical conditions which need close parental supervision and support.

For younger children, a good single option is the Joggster Trail v2 which is a three-wheeled buggy with an option to add an innovative 2nd seat so you can ‘shuttle’ two children from A to B in style. A sturdy, sporty looking pushchair which is suitable for younger children with special needs and with the rear Shuttle Seat added it becomes a tandem buggy fit for two!

For most standard buggies the increased weight of the child is a limiting factor but not so for the superior build quality of the Joggster Trail Buggy as it has a roomy front seat with an extra large weight capacity of 34kg (5 Stone/approx 5-6 years old) – if you’re adding the optional 2nd Shuttle Seat to make a Joggster Trail Double Buggy, this has a 15kg weight limit (approx 3-4 years old). Passenger Height on main seat approx: 112cm

This is an all-terrain double buggy with a fixed or swivel front wheel. This updated model offers something new and exciting for families with children who have physical, mobility or behavioural disabilities, as well as their siblings, helping them pursue a more active lifestyle and getting out and about as a family.

The Joggster Sport v2 is a brand new 3-wheeled all-terrain buggy for sport-loving parents! We’ve added this to our range for younger children with special needs as we feel it offers something new for parents and has a roomy seat and a fantastic weight capacity for children who have outgrown a standard sized pushchair. Max weight capacity is 34kg and Max passenger height approx: 110cm

This pushchair has features that make it perfect for the more active parents amongst you. If you like jogging and want to take your child with you, then this sporty version of the Joggster could be for you. The buggy has been approved for speeds up to 15km(9 miles)/hr. The large 16-inch Schwalbe air-filled tyres have the best running performance and you won’t feel much roll resistance. The new model comes with a frame partly made of carbon which not only adds stability, but it saves weight also. With the optional rotating front wheel, the speedster is even more manoeuverable and comfortable ideal for shopping! The new rims make this Joggster look even more sporty and agile… there’s no doubting, this is a super-cool looking buggy!

The Special Tomato Jogger offers an ideal special needs buggy for the family who like to be out and about. The stylish jogger provides the comfort and positioning needed for you and your child to enjoy the outdoors. A lightweight, all terrain pushchair designed for children requiring minimal to moderate positioning, suitable from early years to the older child up to approximately age 10-12 years old (max weight limit is 50kg and max Passenger height (with canopy) 135cm).

From a practical point of view, the washable upholstery is reversible, so that the canvas side can be used in the summer and the fleece side in the winter. It combines all these features you would expect from a buggy with positioning for your child, including a 5 point harness. The seated position is a little more laid back and the elevated footrest provides the passenger with a comfortable position, it suits those children who may like to ‘escape’ too as it is more difficult to get out of!

And for kids who need a little more positioning, the Size 1 and 2 Soft-Touch Liners and Soft-Touch Sitters can be inserted into the Special Tomato Jogger and an optional head support attached. The Soft-Touch Liner easily attaches to offer contoured body support for additional positioning and the pushchair still folds with it in place. Adding Soft-Touch Sitters will provide more trunk support for your child. Both sold separately. There is also the option to add a 2nd side seat for a younger sibling to make a double buggy.

The Axiom Endeavour special needs pushchair provides older disabled children, their families and caregivers the opportunity to enjoy life with a new perspective of adventure. Suitable from age 5 to 16 years old, this large all-terrain pushchair is perfect for everyday walks, country parks, woodland and off road mountain trails, day trips to the beach or theme parks….the Axiom Endeavour does it all while providing a comfortable ride for your child. We don’t believe in limits, don’t let your mobility difficulties keep you from fulfilling your adventures and spending time together as a family!

The Axiom Endeavour all-terrain special needs buggy for disabled children will take you where no other paediatric mobility pushchair can follow! Designed for use both indoor or outdoors, the stylish jogging stroller easily glides over smoother surfaces and handles rougher terrain like grass, gravel and even sand with ease!  The Axiom Endeavour combines the off-road ability of a multi-terrain stroller, the lean agility of an urban jogger, and the comfort, support and positioning needs for both children and adults with mild to moderate physical disabilities. Max weight capacity is 75kg (12 Stone)

Ready to tackle any terrain, Axiom Endeavour Special Needs Pushchair comes standard with hand and foot brakes, large multi-position sun canopy with peek-a-boo window, a height-adjustable handle, large storage basket, and built in removable storage pouches and two water bottle holders. The quick-fold lever allows you to fold your buggy in one simple step and folding up in seconds. It comes with the traditional fixed front wheel as standard but if you’re going to use a lot indoors then you may want to add the optional swivel wheels.

Reconditioned Models

Our range of reconditioned single and double pushchairs have all been checked and cleaned and offer excellent value for money. One of these is the Advance Mobility Independence Pushchair designed for use by older children who may have a physical disability and cannot walk or challenging behaviour and needs to be kept safe. Suitable from 5 to around 13 years, with a maximum weight capacity of 45kg (7 Stone), this all-terrain pushchair is ideal for getting outside to the countryside, beaches, woodlands and, of course, around town too. The larger frame, wheels and higher seat base making it ideal for larger and/or taller children who have outgrown a standard pushchair.

The larger, strong yet lightweight frame, taller ‘hammock style’ padded seat, which can be reclined, adjustable 5-point harness and longer seat to footplate distance all accommodate a larger child or your adult with mild to moderate needs in comfort. For children who need postural support, you may wish to look at other models we have where this can be incorporated.

The Independence is designed for the active, outdoor or sport-loving family and is a great off-roader, allowing you to access the places a wheelchair isn’t suitable. Anywhere, any time, whether it be to a country park, woodlands or beaches, or why not try your hand at doing a charity fun run or marathon. The Advance Mobility Independence by Baby Jogger has a fixed front wheel for extra stability across rougher terrain, although it can be used around town too.

These re-conditioned pushchairs have been pre-loved by another family with a disabled child and are in good condition. They will come with a rain cover and sometimes additional accessories which will be stated for each package. There is no warranty on these pushchairs. We only have limited stock and they always go quickly, so if you are interested please call us today on our Helpline: 01670 458624 and we’ll be happy to help you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Our Guide to Special Needs Pushchairs

Many families with one or two children who have a disability that affects their mobility require a special needs pushchair. We have a selection of single and double buggies for children with special needs, physical disability or walking problems , behavioural conditions that require restraint such as Autism or ADHD and many other disabilities. All are suitable for families looking for the freedom to get out and about with their children.

The Maclaren Major Elite Pushchair is a single stroller designed for older children with special needs and is suitable from around 2 years old to approx 10 years old and is registered with the MHRA as a Class I Medical Device for disabled children. For younger children, there are postural inserts which will fit into this buggy – see Special Tomato Liners and Sitters under Special Needs Seating & Postural Support.

The Major Elite special needs pushchair has been developed to meet the demand for an everyday buggy for a child, who as a result of a disability, has a need for a portable, parent-wheeled transport. The buggy can be supplied as a basic model or as a package, with the addition of a full pack of coordinating accessories including sun canopy, raincover, padded seat liner, footmuff, lateral supports, chest pad and shopping basket. The ‘umbrella fold’ buggy may be folded down into a compact, easy to transport size and will fit most boots. Great for travel, shopping or short outings.

The Twin Major Pushchair is a custom-built, double pushchair designed for older children who have difficulty walking and is registered. A strong. lightweight and compact double buggy which has been tested to 50kg in each seat, although when using the Specialist Flexi-Connectors, which easily ‘joins’ the two single pushchairs together, we recommend a max weight of 35kg per seat. Suitable for children from around 2 years old up to the age of approx 10 years. Suitable for families with twins or with one older child has special needs but they also need to transport a younger sibling. Mainsteam and special schools as well as other carers and organisations have also found this twin stroller useful where they need to accommodate a range of ages and disabilities.

The Joggster Trail is a sturdy, sporty looking single or double pushchair which is suitable for an older child with special needs and with an additional ‘Shuttle Seat‘ it becomes a tandem buggy for two! For most standard buggies the increased weight of the child is a limiting factor (most standard buggies max weight limit is 15kg) but not so for the superior build quality of the Joggster Trail Buggy as it has a large seat with a maximum seat capacity of 34kg (approx 5-6 years old) and the additional ‘Shuttle Seat’ has 15kg weight capacity (approx 3-4 years old). Please note: you should always measure/weigh your child/children to ensure this is a suitable option for them.

We think this buggy offers parents and children something new and exciting as its trendy looks, ergonomic design and luxuriously padded ‘Airgo’ breathable seat(s) make this all terrain pushchair stand out in the crowd…in the right way! Cool colours, sporty styling and the puncture-proof wheels (12″ rear/10″ front) all combine to make this buggy aesthetically appealing and not ‘medical’ looking. The Joggster Trail Buggy is ideal for children with physical disabilities, or who require restraint, to help them pursue an active lifestyle.

Traditional wheelchairs are far too expensive for rough and muddy roads. but these pushchairs provide a comfortable and smooth ride and people love them as they don’t look ‘medical’ but are friendly and inviting for all ages. The Joggster will bring smiles to everyone by providing the opportunity to go for long walks. hiking or even to the beach.

The Special Tomato Jogger offers an ideal special needs buggy for the family who like to be out and about. The stylish jogger provides the comfort and positioning needed for you and your child to enjoy the outdoors. A lightweight, all terrain pushchair designed for children requiring minimal to moderate positioning, suitable from early years to the older child up to approximately age 12 years old.

And for kids who need a little more positioning, the Size 1 and 2 Soft-Touch Liners and Soft-Touch Sitters can be inserted into the Special Tomato Jogger and an optional head support attached. The Soft-Touch Liner easily attaches to offer contoured body support for additional positioning and the pushchair still folds with it in place. Adding Soft-Touch Sitters will provide more trunk support for your child. Both sold separately.

Special Tomato Jogger shown with Soft Touch Liner (Seat Cushion)

The Special Tomato Jogger is a lightweight, all terrain pushchair designed for children with mild to moderate needs from early years to around 8-10 years AND with the nifty addition of a Buggypod side seat, it’s a ‘double’ buggy that makes life easier for parents of two on the go!

The Special Tomato EIO Pushchair is the best of both worlds…a special needs buggy that provides mild to moderate positioning support AND a lightweight stroller that provides all the bells and whistles that make it easier for parents and carers on the go!

The Special Tomato eio special needs buggy is an innovative mobility solution which combines a classic pushchair design with the support and functionality required by children with mild to moderate postural needs. Suitable for children from infancy up to 41kg (approx 12 yrs old), this is a buggy that’s versatile to grow with your child.

Size 1 and 2 Soft-Touch Liners and Soft-Touch Sitters can be inserted into the Special Tomato EIO. The Soft-Touch Liner easily attaches to offer contoured body support for additional positioning and the pushchair still folds with it in place. Adding Soft-Touch Sitters will provide more trunk support for your child. Both sold separately.

We’ve teamed this with the Buggypod IO, an innovative clip-on pushchair side seat and single pushchair in one! Simply attach to the side of the pushchair, transforming it into a ‘double’ buggy when needed, and folding up neatly when not. Amazing!

Special Tomato EIO Pushchair with Buggypod Lite add-on side seat

Our range of double buggies for children with special needs include larger single pushchairs, tandem and twin models for children of all ages, particularly those who may be older, taller or heavier who have outgrown their pushchair and need a larger, more robust buggy. Customised models are available too like the Axiom Endeavour Double Buggy which is for older children and can be made as a twin pushchair that splits into two singles too! We also offer funding advice on mobility equipment for disabled children, postural aids and specialist seating for children from newborns to young adults.

Axiom Endeavour Custom Double Buggy

When looking to purchase a special needs stroller for your child, it is important to do some preliminary research, as well as an evaluation of your child’s needs. Please make sure that you know the child’s height, weight and width at shoulders and hips and the key measurements are given above for guidance. If you require any assistance or advice, please call our helpline.

You can visit our Special Needs Department to see full details on our range of special needs pushchairs, car seats and accessories. If you are seeking funding, please call us as we may be able to help you by providing advice and details of charitable organisations that help parents who require financial assistance.

Helpline: 01670 458624

Email: info@freedomforkids.co.uk