Activity and Usage Characteristics of Children Who Use Electric Powered and Manual Wheelchairs

RESNA 28th Annual Conference - Atlanta, Georgia

Beth Ann Kaminski, MS; Rory A. Cooper, PhD; April Hoover, MS; Rosemarie Cooper, MPT, ATP; Dan Ding, PhD; Donald M. Spaeth, PhD

Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology,
University of Pittsburgh
Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Healthcare System,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


In this study, datalogging devices were utilized to quantify the wheelchair usage characteristics of children between the ages of 6-17 who use a manual or powered wheelchair for daily mobility. On an average day, children manual wheelchair users traveled 1583.6 ± 880.2 meters at an average speed of 0.67 ± 0.16 meters/sec, while the power wheelchair users traveled 1524.5 ± 1057.0 meters at 0.63 ± 0.16 meters/sec. No significant differences were found in the distance or speeds traveled. These are similar to results from adult wheelchair users. The male children, on average, traveled 1910.1 ± 1160.0 meters per day, which is significantly further than the females, who traveled only 1118.9 ± 247.9 meters. The children traveled significantly further on the weekdays, 1738.7 ± 1173.5 meters per day, as compared to the weekend days, 1088.9 ± 902.8 meters.


Wheelchair, children, assistive technology, datalogger

Author Contact Information:

Beth Ann Kaminski
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
7180 Highland Drive Building 4
2 nd Floor, East Wing, 151R-1
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
412-365-4858 (fax)