Picking a pediatric walker or gait trainer is a crucial choice in the path towards independent movement of a kid with motor disabilities. Every parent desires to make sure it will give the best device that allows treatment in an ideal way and enhances daily tasks. As such, whatever device that parents opt to buy, be it a gait trainer or walker, should be able to serve these two objectives.
The challenge here is that while there is no shortage of products on the market, it is difficult to tell at one glance which are able suitable for the above stated aims. As such, in this article, we aim to teach you more about gait trainers and walkers, and how you might evaluate a mobility device for your child.
Introducing Mobility Devices
Gait trainers are frequently used in medical facilities to help people with motor disabilities to establish a positive walking gait. As such, they are more sophisticated, with more functions and greater adjustability. The downside of which is that they tend to be a fair bit more bulky, making them unsuitable for events that contain a variety of different environments.
Typically, users who the gait trainers are catered to, have more severe health conditions. Using the GMFCS scale, they would likely have a degree of 4 or 5 whereby special aid is needed to help them first attain a stable standing position before training basic mobility.
In contrast to gait trainers, walkers are nimble, portable and lightweight, built to support users’ mobility in everyday environments. The main aim here is that of support and versatility rather than correction or training. This is why walkers typically don’t do much to correct the gait of their users.
Users of walkers typically are classified under the GMFCS scale as being degree 1 to 3 users. In this case, they do have some mobility ability, and are able to stand or walk with some assistance. While not perfect, their gait is sufficient to get them through simple daily activities.
Traditionally, there are two types of walkers – anterior and posterior.
The structure of an anterior walker is in front of the kid, like a rollator for seniors. As such, the usage experience is fairly natural, specifically for kids who take on a forward leaning posture during walks. However, these kinds of walkers can have a tendency to reinforce that stance, which can come with the impairment of balance and turning ability.
The posterior walkers with the frame around the kid from behind. They are a little bit more difficult to transfer into. Yet, this configuration generally leads to a more proper upright posture and allows the specialist to teach good stance using cues from body contact with the frame.
The best of both Worlds
Innovation in the industry has led to products that offer attributes of both gait trainers and the different types of walkers. This has given rise to a gait trainer walker which both trains your child’s gait while also being remarkably portable for day to day usage. Equally important is that it contains features of both anterior and posterior walkers, offering users the option of using either configuration according to the type of support needed for their activity.