DR-23 Analysis of Seat Height for Wheeled Mobility Devices

by Clive D’Souza and Edward Steinfeld



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Abstract: The following report provides a brief analysis of occupied seat heights for wheeled mobility device users in the U.S. The data are based on findings from the Anthropometry of Wheeled Mobility (AWM) Project, and comprises of detailed measurements collected from 495 users of manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs and scooters. Our analyses show that occupied seat height varies considerably across the three categories of mobility devices, as well as across gender. In general, seat heights among manual wheelchair users were lowest, followed by power wheelchairs, with scooter users having the tallest seat heights. Within each device group, seat heights for males were typically greater than females. Given the large diversity within the wheeled mobility population, a considerable range of adjustability is needed to design seating and transfer surfaces that provide equivalent heights for all users.  We recommend that this range be between 17 inches minimum to 25 inches maximum. A minimum height above 17 inches would exclude about 6% of the manual wheelchair users in our sample.

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Clive D’Souza and Edward Steinfeld