Imagine yourself sitting on a chair perched on a three-foot-high desk. Now imagine someone grabbing the back of the chair and pitching you forward off the desk. Can you feel your heart rising in your throat? The ground comes at you awfully fast — and hard — doesn't it? A child in a wheelchair faces that very situation every time he or she gets on or off a school bus. Moreover, the driver and/or attendant operating the wheelchair lift also faces physical risks. An electric wheelchair can do quite a bit of damage if it falls on top of someone. Injuries to students and staff during wheelchair lift use are probably less rare than you think. Although school bus operators have varying wheelchair lift procedures (for example, some districts allow the driver/aide to ride the lift with the child, while others forbid the same), there are some basic safety tips that can be shared with all drivers and aides.
Things to watch out for:
Safety procedures should include: