Mobility & More: Transfer Seats

Reprinted from PN January 2001

"I hope you can help. I am looking for a swivel-type device to help me get in and out of my van. Do you know of anything?" —J.P., Conn.

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A wide variety of systems are available for entering and exiting your vehicle. This question deals specifically with transferring from a wheelchair or scooter into the vehicle's own seat—not using wheelchair tie-downs. Several options exist for this, including Ricon's Power Seat Base, Braun's Companion Seat, and Bruno's EZ Rizer seat lift.

The true "swivel seat" of the bunch is Ricon Corporation's 6-way Power Seat Base, which is available for driver or passenger. It is designed for transfer once the wheelchair is inside the van. Front-to-rear travel and height adjustments are controlled individually. Once in position, the seat automatically swivels 90° to allow easier transfer, then returns the user to the forward position.

The Braun Corporation's Companion Seat provides access to a minivan's passenger side. It is designed for transferring directly into the seat from outside the van. The Companion Seat uses the vehicle's original seat but replaces the existing base with a unique power base that automatically lowers to allow easy boarding, then raises up and into the vehicle. When not needed, it functions exactly as the passenger seat; this makes it useful for families in which only one member needs assistance.

The Braun seat has been designed to meet all applicable federal motor-vehicle safety standards and is currently available for Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, and Ford Windstar minivans. It will soon be available for the 1998 GM minivans (Venture, Silhouette, Transport, Montana) as well.

Another option is the EZ Rizer from Bruno Independent Living Aids. This miniature lift helps you get into most popular vehicles with higher-elevation seating, including full-size vans, minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks.

The EZ Rizer Seat Lift System is designed for transfer outside the vehicle and can be used on the passenger or driver's side. It is truly compact and can be operated entirely from within the vehicle's standard door opening. Simply unfold the seat platform, deploy the wraparound safety arm, and ride the lift up or down. The unit's compact design allows it to be folded and stowed neatly between the closed door and seat. The quick-release seat platform also gives others unobstructed entry.

Send questions to: Mobility & More, c/o David Young, / mobility&


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