Every year, more than one in four adults experience a fall. Did you know more falls occur at home than out in public?
People who use stairlifts, or chairlifts, not only gain independence, but they avoid injuries. A stairlift provides a safer way to go up and down the stairs in your home. One way you can maximize your stair lift benefits is to learn more about how you can optimize lift safety.
Safety is a top priority for stairlift designers, but there are a few safety precautions you and your family will need to take when you install one in your home. Explore seven tips designed to help you and your family get the most from this essential tool for independent living and aging in place.
1. Read the Manual
Even though the technician who installs the lift in your home will go over step-by-step instructions on operating the stairlift, you may not remember every point made. Before you take the first ride, read the owner’s manual for your stair lift.
The user manual contains everything you need to know about your stairlift. You’ll learn more about all the features the manufacturer built into the device. Even more critical is information about stair lift safety.
One thing you don’t want to ignore is understanding weight limits. Next, we’ll discuss why that’s important to know.
2. Be Aware of Weight Limits
Most stairlifts have a 300 lb. weight limit. Read through your owner’s manual to find the maximum loading capacity for your model.
When selecting the best stairlifts for your home, ask the dealer to explain weight limits. Straight stairlifts usually have a higher weight limit, while loading capacity for a curved stairlift will depend on the staircase’s design and features.
Manufacturers design stairlift systems to carry one person. Never attempt to carry more than one person on your stairlift — you. That includes children – and pets!
While it may be tempting to use your lift to transport heavy or bulky items, please don’t do it. You could end up with an injury or damage to your home if something were to fall off the lift during travel.
3. Buckle Up for Safety
Speaking of travel, your stairlift should come with a safety belt. It’s one of the standard safety features. Not using the seatbelt is one of the leading causes of stairlift accidents.
The key is to fasten the seat belt before traveling up or down the stairs. Even though your stairlift will give you a smooth ride, the safety belt will prevent you from sliding off of the chair.
Pro tip: Ask your dealer about upgrading to a retractable safety belt.
4. For Adults Only
There’s no way to get around it — stairlifts are fascinating to children (and some adults who have not been around one). It would be best if you educated the children who live in or visit your home to stay away from the Stairlifts when it’s operating.
It’s just like teaching small children to keep away from the stove because it’s hot. You may need to reinforce the rule that when the lift is in use, they should step out of the way. The same goes for pets!
Talk with your stairlift dealer about including a key lock to prevent children from attempting to operate the lift when you’re not using it.
5. Remove All Obstructions
Please don’t use the stairlift when other people are using the stairway. You want to make sure the device has a clear path.
As a safety precaution, most stairlifts today have safety sensors that stop the device automatically when they detect an object blocking their path. It’s still a best practice to clear the stairs when you’re using your stairlift.
On the flip-side, you can also protect family members who need to use the stairs. Simply fold the seat and footrest (if applicable to your model) after each use. This helps prevent someone from tripping or causing other injuries.
6. Proper Position for Travel
If you’ve traveled on a plane in the last several years, you likely heard the flight attendant’s instructions enough that you could have given them yourself. By the time you’ve used your stairlift several times, you’ll feel the same way. Even so, here are your pre-flight instructions to ensure home stairlift safety:
- Push the seat lever so that you swivel the chair 90 degrees and lock it in place.
- Sit back in the seat.
- Place arms directly on the armrests.
- Keep your feet positioned as far back on the footrest as possible.
- Fasten the safety belt.
Be especially careful when getting on or off the lift at the top of the stairs. It’s the time when you’re at the most significant risk for a fall.
Keep in mind, this post focuses on stairlifts for indoor use, but if you’re considering a lift for outside your home, you’ll want to make sure you understand how to use it safely as well.
Proper form isn’t only for flying. It’s essential for using your stair lift safely.
7. Food and Drinks Belong in the Kitchen
There are two primary reasons why you should refrain from carrying food and drinks while using your stairlift. First, if you spill a hot drink, it can scald you. Second, liquids — hot or cold — can damage the components of your stairlift.
If it’s necessary to have a drink in your hand while riding, use a cup with a lid. Or, ask a housemate to carry your drink for you (while practicing lift safety, of course).
Need Help Understanding Stairlift Safety?
We’re confident reading our safety tips will help you feel more comfortable using your mobility device. As a gentle reminder, pay attention to weight limits, use the safety belt, clear obstructions, and teach family members about stairlift safety.
If you have more questions about using your stairlift or need help locating a dealer, call 1-800-833-0478 to speak with a Customer Service Representative. We’re always thrilled to talk to our customers about the devices we offer to help them enjoy independent living.