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What Makes a Safe Chair?

Posted by / August 30, 2017 / Categories: Inside Recliners, Occupational Therapy

Whether at home or at work, a great number of people spend a significant portion of their daily lives sitting down. It can come as a shock then to learn that many of the seats and sofas we use every day are unsafe. Not only that, certain chairs, both in the office and in the house, are having a negative impact on our bodies, creating problems with balance, flexibility and posture that may be felt immediately or in later life.

If you spend a lot of your time sitting down it’s important to make sure that you are both comfortable and taking care of your body. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide, with five tips on what makes a safe chair:

The right size

When using any chair it’s important that it matches your height and body type. Sitting on a chair that is too high will leave your legs unsupported, putting pressure on your thighs that can lead to tight hamstrings and poor circulation. A chair that is too small on the other hand, may not offer sufficient support for your upper body, neck and head, causing stress and aching. The good news is that many chairs, both at home and at the office, can be adjusted to suit the height of the individual using it.

Back support

Chairs that are too deep will often mean leaning backward, something that can put a huge amount of stress on the lower part of the back. Alternatively, the person seated may try to compensate by sitting forward in their chair with their back arched. In the short term this can cause aching and ulcers, while over time it can bring serious difficulties with posture. Chairs with back support that is set too upright on the other hand should also be avoided, as they can leave the person tired from constantly pushing back against it.

Weight limit

Regardless of your body type, a high weight limit will mean a chair that is robust, reliable and less likely to break. Mechanical or motorised chairs that have a low maximum weight are more prone to become jammed, often in a fully reclined position. An inconvenience for some, older less mobile individuals could find this a serious hazard.

Back up battery

Any chair or recliner fitted with a motorised system should have a backup battery which will kick in if the primary motor fails or in the event of a power cut. This should then automatically return the chair to a comfortable, upright position from which the person seated can easily get to their feet. Backup batteries are usually small, and will need to be replaced after they have been used once. 

Care and attention

It’s a good idea to get any chair that has a mechanical or electrically powered system serviced roughly once a year. This will ensure that all moving parts are kept in good condition and any wires are checked for sign of damage. Other common problems such as faded leather can also be easily repaired, while internal filling that has decayed or compacted can be replaced.

Perhaps the best way to make sure your chair is safe, is with a personal assessment from an expert. Using our bespoke service, one of our experienced staff will be able to gain an understanding your needs and guarantee you a chair that offers safety, comfort and peace of mind.

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