Recently the media have reported on incidents where children with disabilities have been strapped into chairs or toileting systems as a behavioral restraint and in an entirely inappropriate (and abusive) manner. Parents and child advocates are understandably concerned about such inappropriate use. Some have faulted the design of the seating or toileting systems involved.
It is, however, important to recognize that many children with disabilities need positioning aids in order to sit properly and maintain good posture. This allows them to engage in a host of meaningful and therapeutic activities while feeling secure and supported and it can help prevent developing deformities. Positioning aids often are provided in the form of straps or support blocks of various kinds.
In my experience using Rifton seating and toileting systems, and in all my discussions with Rifton personnel, I know that all Rifton straps and supports have been designed exclusively for positioning and are manufactured and included solely for this purpose. Indeed, Rifton products would not function appropriately without these components.
I’ve worked with Rifton Equipment for many years. The company is extraordinarily committed to the well-being of the children who use their products and goes to great lengths in all its product instructions and manuals to warn against using straps for behavioral restraint and to stress the importance of caring supervision. An example of this kind of warning can be found here: Rifton Straps and Supports Poster Text.
Karen Pierz, PT
Naperville School District #203
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