A stair glide, also known as a lift, can make it possible to stay in your multi-level home even if you have reduced mobility. These devices consist of chairs or platforms on rails that travel up and down the stairs. Platform glides are primarily for those confined to wheelchairs, while a chair lift works well for those that use canes or walkers. When it comes to placing a glide in your home, safety for both the user and others is of utmost concerns. The following safety tips can help.
Tip #1: Keep the stairs clear of all obstructions
Toys, shoes, and other items are dangerous at any time, but they can be particularly dangerous when a glide is in use. This is because they can get in the way of the tracks and cause the glide to malfunction or jerk to a stop if the tracks become jammed. It's also a good idea to make sure there are no loose rugs used on the steps. Any stair runners or rugs should have an adhesive backing to hold them in place.
Tip #2: Train children and pets on operational safety
Children need to know that the glide is not a toy and that they are not to use it for "rides." If your glide comes with a key, don't leave it in the device if children are in the house. Even young children can be taught to stay away from the glide while it is in motion. Consider using masking tape to create a barrier line on the floor at the top and bottom of the staircase. You can teach children to stay behind the line until the glide stops moving. Pets should also be trained to stay away. This can be done simply by reinforcing their stop and stay commands and using them each time you are on the glide.
Tip #3: Install a couple of grab bars
For chair-style lifts, grab bars can help prevent a fall when you are getting out of the chair. Install a grab bar at each end of the staircase to make it easier to pull yourself up and out of the chair. If your issue requires the use of a cane, but not a walker, you may also want to consider keeping a non-rolling walker at the top and bottom of the stairs if you have trouble standing up. The walker can provide better leverage to get out of a glide chair compared to your cane.
Talk to a stair glide dealer such as All-Star Lifts for more safety information.