One of my favorite activities has been teaching the primary children every Sunday. The ages range from three to twelve years old, which keeps things very interesting and quite lively. I absolutely LOVE it!
I also appreciate the parents entrusting me with their precious ones, especially in light of my 300+ pound wheelchair/gymnasium. Although the wheelchair is a benefit in relating to the children, as I’m always on their level, the lights and buttons are a huge temptation for tiny hands. For the most part, the children and I have an understanding (buttons are only touched at my direction), however, occasionally–only occasionally–someone gets too curious to mind the rules. And, occasionally–only occasionally–I’m not vigilant enough to foresee the potential disaster.One flawed design of power wheelchairs is easy access to the joystick, great for the user, not so for children, horses, dogs, etc. Toes frequently get run over when someone leans in for a hug, or a dog jumps on my lap, or the horse nibbles on the “carrot”. But that’s nothing compared to a child reaching for the joystick while standing in front of the chair!
I’m always on guard and turn off the power with the slightest hint of danger. Unfortunately, children, animals and loved-ones are often just too fast for me. Toes get squished and one time so did my nephew. He grabbed the joystick, with the chair rolling over him he hung on for dear life. Very counter productive, but he was only two. Those little fingers were surprisingly strong–it took his mother and me to release his grip. Although a lot of tears were shed, thankfully, he wasn’t hurt.
A more comical situation occurred while giving my niece a “ride” while shopping in a mall. Before I could stop her, she had taken control of the joystick. In my effort to hold onto her, I wasn’t able to pry her determined fingers from the handle. All I could do was shout “baby in control”‘ as we spun haphazardly around the aisles. Once again, mom saved the day and no harm was done.
The danger I dread the most, is backing over an infant. There are tons of really fun gadgets attached to power chairs–parents, it’s your turn to be vigilant. Those little ones creep up behind us when we least expect it. I’m happy to say, the worst thing that’s happened to me in that regard, was discovering a deck of cards lying on the back of my chair after arriving at work.