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Hands-Free Walkers

My son is getting close to outgrowing his current reverse walker so we are beginning the process of considering what comes next for him. One option we are exploring is a hands-free walker or gait trainer. These types of walkers have advantages and disadvantages and are certainly not the right choice for all children. As always, decisions on equipment should be guided by the physicians and therapists involved in your child’s life. The following is a list of advantages and disadvantages that we have learned of while considering these options, as well as a list of hands-free walkers and gait trainers to consider.

Some of the advantages to hands-free walkers are:

  • Hands are free to be used for other activities instead of holding the walker. For a child using a communication device or sign language to communicate, this point proves to be especially important.
  • These walkers allow a child to walk directly up to a table or other surface.
  • Some hands-free walkers and gait trainers require more work from the legs. This is actually a pro and con. For children who rely heavily on upper body strength and just cruise with their feet, this might be a good option for requiring more use of the legs.
  • Hands-free walkers and gait trainers have harnesses or straps that provide more stability and less likelihood of falls.
  • Some hands-free walker options can provide extra support and stability for users who do not have the balance, core strength or weight-bearing capabilities needed to use other walkers.

Some of the disadvantages of hands-free walkers are:

  • They require a child to be strapped in to the walker. This decreases completely independent use of the walker as someone will always have to help the person get strapped in and out of this type of walker.
  • Some of the strapping and harness systems are rather complex.
  • Most of these walkers are bulkier and heavier than a standard walker and may be harder to transport.
  • These types of walkers and gait trainers are quite a bit more expensive than standard walkers and may require more work to get insurance to approve.
  • For a child who has become used to using their upper body strength to help with walking or who has major issues with rotation, spasticity and leg weakness, using one of these walkers may prove difficult.

Hands-free walkers and gait trainers to consider:

TAOS (Therapeutic Ambulatory Orthotic System)

Mulholland Walkabout

FCI Walker Gait Trainer

Ormesa Grillo Gait Trainer

KidWalk

Kaye Suspension Walker

Do you know of other hands-free walkers and gait trainers to add to our list?

 

1 comment

  1. Jeff Christianson

    Pacific Rehab has another hands free walker called the Buddy Roamer. Three sizes and supports to suit.
    Buddy Roamer

    Hope this helps!

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