Life Hacks

Brittney Baumgartner's avatar

by Brittney Baumgartner

Life hacks can sure come in handy when working with our children's equipment.

No matter how helpful they can be for children or how much more convenient they make things, sometimes they can be a little annoying and more often than not... an eyesore!

We have just added a wheelchair to my son Oliver's list of equipment.

Although it is one of the smallest in the line of wheelchairs, it can still prove to be quite bulky.

Seeing that we need both wheels, brakes and handles to push him, and seatbelts, there isn't much we can do much about it.

But making it look a little cooler is doable.

It is pretty awesome that these chairs can now come in a selection of colors that appeal to the kiddos, so we decided to go with neon green.

Because Oliver is still working on trunk control, he has two seat belts - one that goes across the hips for obvious placement, and one big black one across the chest.

Anytime he has a nice shirt on, it is all distracted by the thick, dark seat belt.

Recently in the Zoo gift shop, I saw the cutest seat belt cover in the design of a green alligator. Granted, this cover was made for the seat belt that goes across the chest in the vehicle, it served just the same purpose going over Oliver's chest belt.

Behold! The unsightly belt that covered most of his chest, was now a scary, yet soft to touch green alligator to match his wheelchair!

The next life hack I would like to brag about, would be shoes for his afos (ankle foot orthotic shoes).

You can indeed find great shoes on sites like Stride Rite that come in extra wide to fit over the foot braces, but the pickings get slimmer when you go from wide to extra wide.

Being that Oliver is not a walker, and still learning to stand with the help of his squiggles stander, we turn to shoes more for the grip they get on the floor.

Oliver's AFO braces are plastic and slip and slide on our concrete floor.

(We did get lucky with the design and chose cute, yellow braces with elephants on them, so spending $40 on a pair of shoes he would surely outgrow before being able to walk in them, was not so appealing.)

This is when I turned to the community and found a common life hack. Wal-Mart! 

Or any thrifty shop that would sell toddler shoes for under $15.

I had to go a size up in the shoe, but we found some pretty styling neon green and blue shoes that had a Velcro strap.

With the braces, the only problem was I could not get the tongue open wide enough to fit the thing in.

That is when I took to cutting off the stretchy 'fake' shoelaces they had holding the tongue back, and taking out the sole of the shoe - this made it easy to slip the brace in and made the shoe deeper for the brace to fit in. Voila!

I now had my $6 shoes for Oliver to wear while learning to stand.

Life can be hard enough keeping track of all the equipment my son uses, so why not make it look good!

If you have any hacks you'd like to share, please comment below!

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