Thursday, December 1, 2016

Eliza's Bumbo wheelchair

By now, I think most of our friends and family have seen Eliza work her wonders in her Bumbo wheelchair.

This is a piece of equipment that has been such a game changer for us, and I definitely wanted to dedicate a post to detailing how this chair has been so impactful. 

I first saw the concept of a Bumbo Wheelchair over on my friend Mary Evelyn's blog What Do You Do, Dear? Her son Simeon is Jake's age, was born with spina bifida, and was a quick pro in a wheelchair. He had this fabulous little seat that they referred to as a "Bumbo wheelchair" and I was fascinated. 

Does a real commercial wheelchair for a baby or toddler exist? Yes! It's called a ZipZak! And while it's super cool, it's also pretty pricey and not covered by insurance. Enter the Bumbo Chair, a handmade version for a fraction of the price. The name comes from the fact that a lot of folks use the infant Bumbo seat as the main seating base of the chair. 
Note: There are several other brands of this same style seat that might fit your kiddo better. Be sure to look around at the options and given them some room to grow! 

So what's this thing made of?
The base of the wheelchair is created with a large cutting board. The wheels were originally designed for a bicycle.  And castors are added to the bottom to create a tip option when the kiddo wants to reach and pick something up off the floor. 
The chair sits just barely off the ground - a similar placement to a child that would be walking or crawling themselves. 

So why is the Bumbo Chair important? Well, did you know that so much of our cognitive development is directly linked to our ability to move around and explore? Kids Eliza's age learn thru touch and feel and checking things out. If she doesn't have the ability to move freely in her surroundings, she will have a harder time staying in line with her peers that are learning thru play. 

The Bumbo Chair gives her that independence and freedom! 

I'm fortunate to have a father in law that took all of the plans I could find online, and created this amazing piece of equipment for her! 

Around ten months old, we started placing Eliza in the chair to see how she took to it. It's definitely a pretty big skill to master, but over time she went from just rolling the wheels forward and back an inch or two, to crushing allllll over the place. 

She has free reign of the house in her wheels, and we love that it gives her the ability to play with her peers at church, or cruise around the local children's museum. 

Since she's gotten the knack of this chair, we've seen her flourish! She's constantly talking, learning, and moving! It's amazing what a fantastic impact something like this can have!

I'm just so glad that we have it! We ordered Eliza's first real wheelchair back in September and have gotten exactly no where with it. This sort of wait is pretty standard for mobility companies, insurance claims, and custom built devices. We have no idea how long an approval will take and when we'll ever get a standard chair for all. All the more reason that she has this Bumbo chair as a way to get around!

Are you a interested in building a Bumbo wheelchair for a sweet baby you know? Start here! 

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