Many children live with disabilities which result in weak muscle tone and control, which can lead to difficulty in holding the head up straight and as a parent or carer it’s understandable you probably want to anything to help. Hypotonia in the neck and other parts of the body is known to be a symptom of many disabilities including cerebral palsy and many other neurological conditions.
Finding the right head and neck support is not something anyone should do without the advice and guidance of a professional, but we thought it was definitely worth looking at the options out there, as you may find something your healthcare team hasn’t yet come across. Below are six different head and neck support products on the market.
Rifton Activity Chair
The Rifton Activity Chair is described as a clinical positioning chair with an additional head rest is a great choice for environments such as schools and therapy centres where the chair isn’t in full time use. The head rests are contoured to provide support and comfort simultaneously and it can be adjusted from front to back and up and down. The chair is described as great for speech therapy, feeding and also for its versatility for use for a wide range of other activities.
Find out more here http://www.rifton.com/products/special-needs-chairs/rifton-activity-chairs
The GoTo Seat is a postural support which is designed for children between 1 and 5, with two different sizes available. The larger model for older children has an adjustable headrest as well as strong back support and leg supports and can be attached to any regular seat (with a back) allowing inclusion in family meals, days out and more. The GoTo Seat can even be attached to a supermarket trolley or bicycle seat, as this video shows:
Find out more about the Goto seat here http://www.fireflyfriends.com/goto-seat
We’ve chatted about the Snuggin Go before as it’s a product which really works. Rather than being a whole seat or whole seat support it is a simple memory foam based product which fits comfortably around the neck and shoulders of your child. It’s designed for children aged up to 5 and provides the extra support they may need, avoiding slumping which can lead to discomfort.
Snuggin Go Too is not readily available in the UK but can sometimes be found on Amazon >> Snuggin Go Too Child Positioner, Black by Snuggie
Chill Out Chair
There are no straps or restraints with the Chill Out Chair, as the company behind this product cite dignity and comfort as their two key reasons for opting for their chair. They have a patented deep V design which removes the needs for straps and the body can relax comfortably whilst being supported. It can be designed in a wide range of different colours and materials to suit the needs of the individual and more than that, find a fabric that suits for children who have sensory processing difficulties. There are also a range of accessories including trays but of course your Trabasack would work wonderfully too.
We are looking for UK stockists, please let me know if you find one. The US site is here http://chill-outchair.com/
The Headpod is a tried and tested design which has been specifically designed for hypotonia of the neck muscles. Headpod helps to build the neck muscles and reach the point where the hypotonia is much less pronounced or even a thing of the past. It’s a system which works through creating a vertical and natural positioning of the head through a supportive brace worn to the head. As this video shows it can make a huge difference to the wearer and help their neck develop over a period of time:
Again, it is the type of item which you should discuss with your care team or occupational therapist to see whether it would be a good choice for your child. The head pod website is here http://www.headpod.com/
As the name suggests the Tumble Forms Seat by NRS Healthcare was initially designed for feeding but it can be used for a wide range of purposes. It benefits from being plastic so easy to clean and is designed to be used with their floor sitter wedge. For short-term upright activity it provides all the support needed and is very easy to assemble and carry. They are on Amazon and available from our friends at Mobility Choices
Get some professional advice
There are many other head and neck supports on the market and it is important you find the one which suits your child best but these are a good example of what’s out there and perhaps something to mention at your next appointment!
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