Winter on Wheels: 10 Tips for Keeping Warm in a Wheelchair

Fun hats help too!

Guest Blogger: Sharon Pike, Parent Liaison

I don’t think any of us enjoyed the recent burst of arctic temperatures.  Having a child in a wheelchair makes it all that more difficult to keep them warm and comfortable – and comfort is the key!

Here are a few ideas and resources to help you survive what is left of this winter.

  1. Dress in layers.
  2. Stay hydrated.
    When you become dehydrated cold sets in more quickly, so encourage your kiddo to drink a bit more.
  3. Avoid bulky coats.
    This is really important if your child sits in a car seat because bulky coats keep the straps from fitting correctly. Try thinner layers, blankets, or car seat covers that don’t go between the child and their seat.
  4. Adapt your child’s coat.
    Make a vertical slit up the back of the coat so you can  slip it on from the front and tuck it in around them.  Depending on the coat you may want to take it to the tailor so they can finish the cut side and keep it from unraveling.
  5. Try a poncho.
    Look into buying a poncho that can be thrown right over the chair.  You could also enlist a friend with sewing skills or try out this no-sew version that could be enlarged to cover a wheelchair.

    No-Sew Fleece Poncho
  6. Keep your cell phone charged or have a car charger.
    You don’t want to be caught in severe weather with a dead phone.
  7. Keep your gas tank full!
    My dad used to say, “’E’ doesn’t mean enough!”
  8. Create a winter survival kit for your car.
    Include water, non-perishable food and extra blankets!
  9. Keep their legs covered with a blanket.
    The fleece ones work well or you could use a Snuggie.
  10. Stock up on hand and toe warmers.
    These are great when mittens and boots are too much of a struggle.  Just be careful that they don’t get too warm for your child to tolerate.

Here are a few links some parents have found helpful.

Adaptations by Adrian
Adaptive clothing for wheelchair users and person with physical disabilities which make dressing difficult.

Koolway Sports
Helping to maintain the quality of living for people in motion


1 thought on “Winter on Wheels: 10 Tips for Keeping Warm in a Wheelchair

  1. It can be pretty difficult keeping warm when you’re in a wheelchair. Before I broke my spinal chord I didn’t have any problems staying warm in the winter because I could move around. It seems like dressing in layers and using blankets to cover your legs are great tips to get warm when you have to go outside. I liked your tip to use a poncho. They seem really warm, so I should remember to get one. Thanks for the tips!

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