For people with mobility issues who have trouble getting up and down the steps, a stair lift installation can be a life-changing event.
But while a stair lift – or lift chair as they’re sometimes called – can be an important component of your home, these devices can cause severe injuries if mishandled.
If you’re considering stair lift installation, you’ll also need to consider certain safety features to protect the person using the lift and everyone else in the household.
Here are a few safety features to look for when purchasing a stair lift.
1. Obstruction sensors
Your stair lift needs to be able to tell if there are any obstructions in its path. Objects that obstruct the lift chair can cause it to break and expose the operator to injuries.
Most modern lifts come with safety sensors that automatically – but smoothly – stop the lift when they detect anything in its path (such as the family cat, or the sneakers your grandson left on the steps).
Some lifts feature pressure-sensitive sensors placed around the carriage and footrest to prevent the seat from crushing any obstructions under the chair.
2. Call and send units
Call and send units are the remote controls that allow lift chair users to operate the lift remotely. They are either handheld devices or wall-mounted remotes.
Avoid placing anything on top of the controllers, as this can trigger erratic movements of your stair lift and lead to accidents. Keep the controllers tucked away when not in use: one at the top of the steps and the other at the bottom.
Just as with your car, seatbelts are essential to stair lift safety. However, some people may need help with seatbelts following the stair lift installation. If you need to assist someone with their belt, insert the clasp into the buckle until you hear a click. When removing the belt, take care to hold the belt firmly as it retracts to prevent injury.
4. Key switches
If you have kids or grandkids, you may want to think about using a key switch to prevent them from accessing the lift. It’s important to discourage them from treating your lift chair as a toy, as this can lead to injury or equipment failure.
5. Carrying capacity
Most lift chairs are designed to carry just one person at a time, within the manufacturer’s set weight limits. Overloading the chair can put undue strain on the device, leading to accidents or malfunction.
6. Swivel seats
One of the riskiest parts of the stair lift journey is exiting the lift at the top of the steps, as people with mobility issues can have trouble transferring onto the landing.
This is why your stair lift should come with a locking swivel seat to reduce the risk of falling. These seats allow the user to exit safely as they turn the chair toward the landing. The locked chair can also work as a barrier to prevent falls from loss of balance.
7. Footrest raiser
Footrests in stair lifts are placed very close to the floor so that they are flush with the top step, ensuring safety when landing. Users with back problems may want to consider a powered footrest, which folds away in one smooth, easy action without requiring the user to bend.
Finally, it’s important to remember to have your stair lift checked by a professional when you notice signs of wear and tear.
The stair lift installation professionals at Pennsylvania Stairlifts can examine your lift and make sure it’s providing you with the safety and comfort you need. Contact us today to learn more.