In a Nutshell:
The Wallaby Wheelchair is an awesome kid-sized chair, perfect for most children with mobility issues. Recommended for any child weighing up to 150 pounds.
- Described as a great little chair
- Suitable for children
- Brand lacks recognition
- Potential impact on brand-conscious consumers
Do you have a small child with a mobility issue? Are you wanting to introduce them to the world of travel and show them that their disability doesn’t mean the end of the adventure? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you’re going to love this Wallaby pediatric wheelchair review.
Haven’t heard of Inspired by Drive? We’d be surprised if you had. They’re tiny, and they don’t have much in the way of a brand footprint.
As the name of the brand indicates, though, they take their design cues from Drive Medical, which is a legend in the industry. If you’re going to copy someone, why not copy the best, right? That’s basically this little company’s philosophy, and they do a surprisingly great job, creating unique and interesting products, using Drive Medical as an inspiration.
Inspired by Drive is best known for its pediatric equipment, especially braces and walkers, but they have recently begun making forays into the wheelchair market. The Wallaby wheelchair is an excellent example of their work.
Make no mistake, this chair has its limitations. In the sections that follow, we’ll tell you everything this model gets right and be sure to let you know what those limitations are, so you’ll have all the information you need to decide if this is the wheelchair you’ve been looking for on behalf of your child.
Let’s dive right in and check it out more closely.
An Overview of the Inspired by Drive Wallaby Wheelchair
Small and Sporty
Those are the words likely to spring to mind when you see the chair for the first time. It makes a very good first impression. It is offered in either jet fighter blue or fire truck red, which are bold colors that children are sure to love.
The chair does much more than strike a dramatic pose, though. Let’s dig a bit deeper and look at the core stats that define this model in this section of our Wallaby Pediatric wheelchair review.
Here are the basics:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 18” (W) x 25.5” (D) x 30” (H)
- Seat Dimensions: 14” (W) x 14” (D) (This chair can also be ordered with a 12” wide seat if that proves to be a better fit for your child)
- Chair Weight: 26 pounds
- Maximum Supported Weight: 150 pounds
Keeping in mind that this wheelchair was designed for kids, these are exceptional numbers. The chair can easily navigate through standard-width doorways, and the seat size is ideal for most youngsters. Even better, if you have a smaller child, the company does offer this chair with an even narrower seat, measuring 12” x 14.”
In addition to that, it supports about an average amount of weight for a pediatric wheelchair, at 150 pounds, and it weighs on par with most adult-sized transport chairs, meaning that when you fold it up, it’s easy to toss in the trunk of your car and take it with you anywhere you want to go.
Air travel won’t be an issue in the overwhelming majority of cases either because it’s small and light enough to easily be accepted by all the major airlines. Kudos to Inspired by Drive for getting it right across the board.
Adjustability and Comfort
Although the little Wallaby wheelchair is built on excellent bones, it doesn’t win any awards for adjustability.
Here, the best feature is the fact that the push handles on the back of the seat are height adjustable, which is great for the child’s caregiver but doesn’t impact the quality of the child’s ride itself.
The leg rests also recline, but note that they are connected by a single band that runs at calf height between them. This band serves as the calf pad, which is fine, but it does mean that the leg rests cannot be independently elevated, nor can they swing away unless you detach the calf pad.
This is a simple operation, but be aware that there is an additional step involved here.
Comfort-wise, the chair is clad in thick nylon, which is breathable and surprisingly comfortable, especially for shorter periods of sitting.
The armrests are padded, and, combined with the calf pads, the overall effect makes the chair quite comfortable in the short run.
As with most wheelchairs though, the longer your child sits in this one, the less comfortable it’s going to be. If you decide you want one of these, you’ll still need to invest in additional padding for the seat and/or seatback if your child spends a significant portion of each day sitting in it.
Extras and Options
There are three big extras to talk about here. First, the safety belt. It’s great that it comes standard with the chair, and it gives you greater peace of mind while your child is in it.
Those do the same thing as the safety belt, which is to say, give you greater peace of mind (in this case, when you’re pushing your child on an incline).
Third, the Drive Medical Wallaby Pediatric folding wheelchair comes equipped with transit tie-downs, allowing your child to remain in the chair while in a van or school bus. That’s huge and very convenient, but there’s a catch. The seatbelt, which is required for safety when a child is traveling in a tied-down wheelchair, is only rated for children weighing no more than 80 pounds.
If your child weighs more than that, you won’t be able to use this aspect of the chair.
On top of that, though, the armrests on the Wallaby flip up, making transfers into and out of the chair a simpler proposition, and the large wheels on this chair have some tread on them!
Most wheelchairs don’t offer any tread at all on their standard wheels. If you plan to use it on uneven terrain, upgrading the wheels is something you’ll have to spend extra on. Here, although the chair can’t tackle truly challenging terrain, it handles surprisingly well on mildly uneven ground.
The good news is that if you decide to go to the park one day, or if your child is on the playground at school, he or she should be able to navigate fairly well, then seamlessly transition to navigating on a sidewalk or inside a building somewhere. Again, kudos to Inspired by Drive for adding some real versatility.
Unfortunately, as we mentioned, there’s no padding on offer beyond the nylon that’s stretched over the frame, and there’s no onboard storage either. Those are two things you’ll definitely want to spend some money on to get even more out of the chair.
Portability & Ease of Use
The Inspired by Drive Wallaby wheelchair is lightweight, has a small footprint, and has got some tread on the wheels. Put those things together, and it’s super easy to use.
The only real complaint here is the way the company chose to handle the calf pads, and their interaction with the leg rests that we talked about briefly in the section above. That’s a minor gripe, really, especially given how much this little chair gets right.
Pros & Cons of Wallaby Pediatric Folding Wheelchair
This is a great little chair. The only thing that kept it from scoring even higher than it did is the fact that the brand doesn’t have a lot of heft, and as such, few people know about them. If you’re not especially brand-conscious, though, that’s probably not a big deal for you. In which case, this chair should rise to near the top of your shortlist for consideration. Your child will love it, and we think you will too!
Wallaby Pediatric Wheelchair Review Conclusion
We consider Inspired by Drive to be comparable to Flash Furniture but in the medical device field.
They’re a plucky little company capable of consistently surprising, and they make great products. We note here in our Wallaby Pediatric Wheelchair review that there’s not a thing in the world wrong with this chair. Best of all, it can frequently be found on sale, allowing you to pick it up at a steep discount.
If you can get it on sale, we recommend it highly. Even if you can’t, though, we still give it a solid recommendation. It’s full-featured and capable, and it’s loaded with safety features that parents are sure to love. A great little chair, offered by a great little company. You will be inspired by Inspired by Drive!
References & Resources:
- Inspired by drive, Official Brand Website.
- Wallaby Pediatric Wheelchair User Manual.
- It is Not Your Legs That Make You Important: Kids Experience What Life is Like in a Wheelchair, UAB.
- The Smart Wheelchair: Is It an Appropriate Mobility Training Tool For Children With Physical Disabilities?, PubMed.gov.
- How Does a Manual Wheelchair Grow With My Child, Permobil.