Installing a stair lift machine in your home is a smart investment if you or a loved one is having trouble walking up and down the stairs. Mobility problems can stem from an injury, poor eyesight, arthritis, weakness in the legs, loss of balance, and other conditions. For people who cannot use the stair without assistance, a stairlift is a real lifesaver. It not only improves mobility but also provides a sense of autonomy, allowing the person to transport themselves from one floor of the house to another with very little effort. Aside from being convenient and fast, stair lifts can dramatically reduce the chance of falling down the stairs. Modern stairlifts are very safe and reliable when used correctly. However, as with any mechanical device, it can cause serious injury if it’s not handled correctly.
If you have a stairlift at home or if you are planning on purchasing one, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the equipment’s basic safety features. Take a look at the following safety tips for using a stairlift, and refer to your user’s manual for more information regarding your particular model.
Buckle up: Even though the ride up and down the stairs is a smooth one, it is crucial that you (or your loved one) wear a seatbelt while traveling up and down the stairs to avoid any injury. Bear in mind, however, that supervision may be necessary for people who are disabled.
Not a toy: You must make sure that children do not play with or on the equipment without adult supervision. Children’s stairlifts come with a child-proof immobilization feature that prevents your child from using the stairlift without your supervision.
Fold the seat: Stairlifts are designed with foldable seats to make sure that they don’t get in the way of people who are using the stairs. Therefore, it is important to fold the seat after each use to avoid tripping people over or causing other accidents.
Obstruction sensors: Most modern stairlifts are fitted with safety sensors that automatically stop the lift when they detect any solid object in their path such as pets or toys. Also, some models come equipped with pressure sensitive safety surfaces, that will stop the stairlift when an obstruction is detected. However, ensure that any pets are out of harm’s way before you operate the stairlift. There are people who train their pets to keep clear of the stairs when the stairlift is in use.
Beware of loose items: Items such as scarves, long skirts, blankets, and long jackets could become trapped under the stairlift mechanism, causing personal injury or damaging the stairlift. Make sure that loose items are kept clear of the stairlift before use.
No liquids: Please don’t drink (or let any type of liquid) near the stairlift. If you need to transport liquids, please do so with care and using a container with a lid.
One person at a time: Stairlifts are designed to carry one person at a time. Never attempt to carry more than one person, including children. Also, ensure that you do not exceed the maximum weight limit specified in your user’s manual. (Oh, and do not use the stairlift to transport heavy items like furniture up the stairs).
Regular maintenance: Get your stairlift regularly checked by a professional to ensure its safe to operate. Stop using the stairlift if any of the safety features stop working, starts behaving strangely, or if you notice any signs of wear and tear. If your stairlift is not working properly, don’t try to fix it yourself. This could cause damage to the machine, and it will also void any warranty with the stairlift dealer or manufacturer.
When used properly, a stairlift will provide you or your family many years of reliable mobility. However, it is important that your future unit has all the necessary safety features. Before investing your money, research the companies that sell lift equipment and compare their reliability and safety features before making a decision.