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Wheelchair Backpack Safety

Wheelchair Safety Tips: What To Carry In Your Wheelchair Backpack

Wheelchair Safety Tips: What To Carry In Your Wheelchair Backpack

Many wheelchair users have wheelchair backpacks in order to carry belongings while on the go. Wheelchair backpacks are convenient because they are out of the way and easily reached. But as most wheelchair backpacks are kept behind the wheelchair and are usually designed to be easily removed, wheelchair backpacks are inherently not very secure. Therefore, you must becareful about what you keep in your wheelchair backpack should it be stolen. Here are a few recommendation of what to carry and what not to carry in a wheelchair backpack.


* Obviously, you will not want to carry any thing of great value in your wheelchair backpack. It is not recommended to carry a wallet, large amount of money or credit cards in your wheelchair backpack.

* Expensive mobile telephone, iPOD or a mobile phone with a subscription plan. Why? If your wheelchair backpack gets stolen and there is a contract, you will have to quickly cancel your contract with your supplier before the theif runs up your phone bill. In the time it would take you to cancel your phone subscription, several expensive calls could have been made. Some victims of telephone theft have received phone bills in the thousands of dollars, due to international calls made within hours of the phone being stolen.

* Anything with your name and address or information about you. If someone steals your wheelchair bag, you do not want them to also steal your identity or know anything more about you than is necessary.

* Alot of heavy stuff. If you use a manual wheelchair, the weight of your wheelchair backpack plus its contents will alter the center of gravity of your wheelchair. IF your wheelchair backpack and the items you carry are very heavy the wheelchair may become dangerously tippy.

* Do not carry house keys, or if you do make certain that there is nothing identifying where you live in the backpack. If your backpack is stolen containing both house keys and your address, you will have to change the locks to your home.


* An inexpensive mobile telephone with a pre-paid sim. A mobile telephone is very important for security. You never know when you might get stuck, get a flat tire or need some kind of help. A pre-paid sim card is best to carry in your mobile telephone. With a pre-paid SIM, if the wheelchair backpack is stolen you have only lost the amount of money that was on the SIM.

* A small repair kit for your wheelchair including a small portable pump. If your tires are pneumatic (air containing) and you get a flat tire, you will either have to be able to repair your wheelchair or call for help. A small portable repair kit will allow you or someone else to repair your wheelchair and get you mobile again.

* A phone number of someone to call in case of an emergency or in case the bag is lost. This will ideally be the mobile telephone number of a reliable friend or relative. Make it clear. Write on a piece of paper: "Call this number in case this bag is found or in case of emergency." Consider plasticising the note and attaching it inside of the backpack so that it never gets misplaced.

* A little emergency money. If your money is stolen from you, for example, if you are the victim of a mugging, it is good to have a little money in the wheelchair bag as a backup. Not enough that you will miss if it is stolen. But enough to get you home safely if you need to call a taxi or make a phone call.

* A small light in case you get caught out after dark. It is even better if it is a wheelchair light.

* If you use medication regularly, consider keeping a small amount in the wheelchair backpack in case you do not get home in time to take your medications.

* Something for self defense. Wheelchair users are often the target of crime. Having something in your bag as protection may be in your best interest. What is legal or practical to carry will differ from place to place and you will want to consider your options. Items ranging from a loud whistle, to pepper spray might be best depending on where you live.

Dr. Gene Emmer is the author and the owner of the RehaDesign Wheelchair Accessories, including the RehaDesign Stash and Flash Wheelchair Bag.

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