Now that Memorial Day weekend — the unofficial start of summer — has come and gone, most of us look forward to the many joys of the upcoming season.
A trip to the beach is one of the greatest pleasures that summer has to offer. Yet, beach trips can be stressful for individuals living with disabilities and their families. Fortunately, a variety of new products can minimize many of these stressors. We’ve searched the internet to find beach gear that makes a visit to the ocean great fun for everyone in the family!
1. Beach wheelchairs
Pushing a wheelchair through the sand is not easy. Likewise, using an electric wheelchair that isn’t designed for beach use may damage your chair. Fortunately, specially designed beach wheelchairs make navigating sandy terrain easy. Purchasing a chair is a big investment – the most basic chairs start at around $1,000 — so unless you plan to spend large amounts of time at the beach, renting or borrowing may be better options. These days, more and more beaches loan or rent beach wheelchairs and some of them can even be used in the water! For a list of beaches in the United States that lend beach wheelchairs at no charge, visit Mobility Deck.
2. Adaptive Kayaks
Kayaking is within reach for individuals with mobility challenges with an adaptive kayak. Freedom Kayaks sells adaptive kayaks for about $3,000 a pop, but you may also find organizations that offer adaptive kayaks for rent or loan. Check out the Disabled Kayaking Enthusiasts Facebook group for info about all things disabled kayaking.
3. Switch Adapted Fan
It gets plenty hot on the beach, so you’ll want to take along Enabling Devices’ switch activated Harbor Breeze or Adapted Misting Fan to cool off. In addition, they provide sensory stimulation.
4. Beach bubbles
A day at the beach is even more fun with bubbles. Pack your beach bag with Enabling Devices’ Fubbles Fun-Finiti Bubble Machine.
Heat, glare, sunburn and overstimulation can all spoil a day at the beach. Bring along the Sensory Exploration Tent from Enabling Devices for shady time-outs.
6. Wheelchair/Scooter Umbrella
Another great antidote to sunburn and blazing temperatures is the wheelchair/scooter umbrella from Yobee and sold by Amazon. You can attach the umbrella to your wheelchair and adjust its height and position.
7. Adaptive Sandals
Zappos has a wide variety of adaptive shoes including adaptive sandals that will serve you well at the beach. Check out these sandals from Ugg.
8. Adaptive Swimwear
Young beachgoers with sensory integration challenges or other special needs will appreciate a tagless, seamless swimsuit with abdominal access openings, and hook and loop back closure such as this one from Kohl’s.
P.S. Water safety is paramount! Check out this blog post to learn more about staying safe near water.