From the moment my daughter started using her Kaye walker full time at 2 years old, I have had a dream. A dream of an all terrain walker that glides smoothly and easily over grass and dirt and mulch. A walker that doesn’t require muscle and struggle to cross uneven surfaces.
Isn’t that a beautiful dream?
They make all terrain strollers, how hard can it be?
Well, it’s a lot harder than I feel like it should be. The business woman in me thinks it’s likely a supply and demand problem. Not enough kids use walkers for companies to spend a lot of time innovating on making them work better. But then the Ability Hacker in me thinks … there MUST be something!
And there is.
It’s not perfect. The wheels are expensive. They are also heavy. And… they don’t swivel.
But… they DO roll over dirt on a baseball field a heck of a lot better than the non-all-terrain wheels we had a week ago (which got stuck and were frustrating the heck out of my daughter). EDIT TO ADD: They slip a bit on the baseball field clay. Not quite enough traction. Still better than the previous wheels, but they could also be a lot better.
I found these all terrain walker wheels a couple years ago, but held off on purchasing them for all of the reasons stated above. Would they really be worth it?
Right now, for us, I think the answer is yes. We had our second T-Ball practice this past Sunday, and while she needed help turning the walker, she was able to “run” to base after hitting the ball without any “stuck in the dirt” problems. Lily is also using her crutches the majority of the time now, and is using her walker mainly for outdoor play. Because of this, we can keep the walker set up in “all terrain” mode most of the time.
Would the all terrain wheels be good for your child’s Kaye walker?
I think the answer truly depends on your child’s capabilities, strength, stamina, and what you use the walker for… so instead of making a recommendation, I’ll break down the pros and cons as best I can.
- The all terrain wheels do roll over dirt and grass better than the smaller, thinner wheels on most Kaye walkers. The front wheels are 1.25″ wide and 9″ in diameter with a nice amount of tread for gripping. The back wheels are 1″ wide and 5″ in diameter. This extra thickness and size helps navigate this rougher terrain.
- The back wheels DO include external ratchets to prevent the walker from rolling backwards. This was important for us since Lily often leans back onto the walker while standing to support herself.
- The all terrain wheels are easy to put on. The wheels come attached to metal tubes that slide right into the walker legs. Basically, slide out the old wheels, and slide in the new ones. On my daughter’s walker, the old legs were covered in a black greasy substance, so we got dirty doing it… but it was done in about 5 minutes.
- The all terrain wheels make the walker heavier. For us this is not a deal breaker, since we know Lily will typically build the stamina and muscle required after using a heavier piece of equipment for a period of time. However, I can see her working a lot harder right now due to the extra weight.
- The all terrain wheels do NOT swivel. This is our biggest learning curve since Lily is used to turning her walker on a dime with swiveling wheels. I’m assuring myself that she will figure it out. The extra weight makes this learning curve even steeper. I do think we will get there … but it will take some patience on both my part and hers.
- The all terrain wheels are expensive. We waited nearly 2 years before pulling the trigger on these bad boys because they run $130-$140. It’s a big investment when you don’t know how well they will work for your child, or for how long your child will need to use them.
- The bigger wheels add an inch in height at the handles. Because of this, if you buy the all terrain wheels, you will likely need to have the legs adjusted to a different setting than you had with the wheels that came with the walker.
How would I go about buying something like this?
We did our research for what to buy on Kaye’s website:
- Link to all terrain wheels: http://kayeproducts.com/all-terrain-wheels/
- You need to know the walker model number. Lily’s walker is so well loved that all the text has rubbed off the stickers. I had to go back to the order form for the walker to get the model number. Her model number wasn’t listed on the all terrain wheels page, so I had to look at the sizing chart to determine which of the wheels would fit her walker model. This is the link: http://kayeproducts.com/consult-us/walker-sizing-chart/
- On that sizing chart, there are four thumbnail images of PDF documents. We clicked on the 4 wheel swivel front sheet because that is the type of walker she has (here: http://kayeproducts.com/wordpress_3878201/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/SizeChart4.jpg). We were able to reference her exact model number and the coordinating all terrain wheels on this sheet.
Once we knew which wheels to buy, we could look around for the best price. We googled “Kaye walker all terrain wheels” (here is the link to the Google Shopping Search) and ended up purchasing ours from AdaptiveMall because they had decent reviews and were about $15 cheaper than buying directly from Kaye (here is the link to Adaptive Mall).
Will insurance cover these? I’m sure the answer depends on your insurance. It never hurts to ask, though!
Do you have experience with all terrain walker wheels? Have you found any that swivel, or have an idea on how to make them do so? I’d love your thoughts – leave me a comment and let me know.