Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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Folding and unfolding your wheelchair

Folding the wheelchair

  • Fold the foot plates up.
  • Hold the vinyl seat in the middle at the front and back; pull upwards until the chair is fully closed.

Unfolding the wheelchair

  • Push down and outwards on the side edges of the vinyl seat (where the upholstery is fixed to the metal frame).
  • Use the palms of your hands to prevent your fingers being caught between the seat and the frame.

Getting in and out of the wheelchair

There are many different ways to get in and out of your wheelchair.  Your Occupational Therapist will have shown you the most appropriate way depending on your needs.


  • Always put on the brakes when getting in and out of the wheelchair.
  • Always lift the footplates up before getting in and out of the wheelchair.
  • Always ensure the seat belt is fastened when sitting in the wheelchair.

Loading the wheelchair into the car

  • Fold the wheelchair as outlined.
  • Please note: some wheelchairs should not be used in wheelchair taxis due to lack of headrest/lock down points.

Lifting the wheelchair

  • Apply the brakes to prevent the wheels from spinning when lifting.
  • Hold the stable parts of the frame when lifting.
  • For safety, break the lifting into two steps.
  1. Lift the wheelchair to the edge of the boot
  2. Slide the wheelchair into the boot
  • Your occupational therapist will advise you on the best lifting technique for your wheelchair.

Remember safe lifting principles:

  • Bend your knees, not your back
  • Brace your abdominals
  • Keep the load close to your body
  • When possible lift the wheelchair with two people.

The Occupational Therapist who issued your wheelchair was

Your wheelchair is due to be returned by __________________________________

Kerbs, steps and ramps

Pushing the wheelchair up a kerb

  • Place your foot on the tipping lever and tip the wheelchair off its front wheels, onto its back wheels.
  • Push the wheelchair forward, up onto the kerb and rest the front wheels down onto the kerb.
  • Push steadily and firmly up the kerb (large wheels will roll up).
  • Ensure the wheelchair is safely on a flat surface.

Pushing the wheelchair down a kerb

  • Reverse the wheelchair to the edge of the kerb, with the rear wheels positioned squarely to the kerb
  • Standing at the rear of the wheelchair the person assisting should lower the rear wheels down the kerb slowly.
  • Once clear of the kerb, slowly lower the front wheels, using the tipping lever.

Cleaning and maintenance

  • Always store the wheelchair indoors, in a clean, dry place.
  • Wipe over the upholstery with a damp cloth and mild detergent.  Dry well to avoid rusting of screws.
  • Check tyres, brakes and upholstery regularly.  If there are problems please contact your Occupational Therapist.

Use a bike pump to pump up tyres as needed.  Tyres will need enough pressure so that they are firm when pressed.

If you have any problems or need further information in regards to the wheelchair please contact the Occupational Therapy Department.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
Hunter New England Kids Health

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