Did You Know? The Special Tomato® CatchUp Chair™ is an Evolution of the Wooden Adjustable Children’s Chair!
The wooden adjustable children’s chair has been a staple seating solution for growing children for years. It has risen in popularity as we have learned more about the ergonomics of the seated posture, specifically about the support needed to create stability in the seated posture. We know that seat depth and foot support are critical to stability. We also know that when we are properly supported and stable, we expend less energy to achieve and maintain “good posture” in sitting and we can rest comfortably in this position for longer periods of time.
In the article Healthy Lifestyle: Good Posture Tips, the Mayo Clinic addresses the three natural curves of the healthy spine. The spine is strong and stable when these natural curves are maintained:
- An inward or forward curve at the neck (cervical curve)
- An outward or backward curve at the upper back (thoracic curve)
- An inward curve at the lower back (lumbar curve)
The first tip for good sitting posture mentioned in the article is to adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front edge of the seat. This is what helps to stabilize the position of the pelvis which is the foundation of the seated posture.
Back support is underpinned by the fact that appropriate seat depth is required to allow us to sit far enough back on the seat that our back is in contact with the back of the chair. Eileen Vollowitz, PT echoes these principles and expands on them in her article How to Fit an Ergonomic Chair.
Parents, teachers, and therapists know that when a child sits in a chair that fits them properly, they are free to direct their energy and attention to the important matters of learning, eating, creating, and socializing. In a chair that fits properly children can sit for longer periods of time and are not distracted by postural adjustments and wiggling to get comfortable. They simply do not fatigue as quickly.
Providing a child with a properly fitting chair is not easy because children grow so fast! And providing them with a properly fitting chair at the right height to use tabletop surfaces created for adults is also a challenge. Booster seats and highchairs often fall short because they fail to offer foot support at an appropriate height. The seat depth on most highchairs is too deep for very young children to sit with their back supported and their knees bending over the edge of seat. In the article How to Choose the Best High Chair or Booster Seat- Tips for Successful Eating from a Feeding Therapist, the author reports most high chairs are created to be easy to clean or transport, but they don't actually promote great sitting dynamics. They may support a baby that doesn't have good independent sitting skills, but they don't lead to successful positioning long-term.
This little one is obviously off balance as she seeks the support of the back of the chair.
This little one crosses his ankles as he seeks the stability that could be offered by a well-placed footrest.
This is where the design of the wooden adjustable children’s chair came to the rescue by offering the following features:
- Adjustable Foot Support- A stable, supportive footrest at just the right height offers kids a place to comfortably rest their feet and thereby stabilize the position of the pelvis while they sit at a typical table height.
- Adjustable Seat Depth- Ensures that the child can receive support from the seat back while their knees bend comfortably over the front edge of the seat.
- 3-point Safety Belt- Ensures safety by discouraging attempts to climb out of the chair.
- Overall Adjustability- Allows the chair to easily grow with one child and facilitates the use of the chair with multiple children in schools and day care environments.
A great example of the wooden adjustable children’s chair is the Keekaroo® Height Right™ Kids Chair.
And what about children and young adults who have special needs? People with special needs often require additional support and safety measures when sitting but the principles of a properly fitted chair remain the same.
The CatchUp Chair provides adjustable foot support, adjustable seat depth and adjustable back height. This allows for the configuration of a “perfect fit seat” at a “perfect fit height” for a variety of tabletop heights from child sized tables to standard dining room tables. Adjustments are made in 1 inch increments allowing pacing of adjustments to match the child’s rate of growth. This is true even if the person with special needs is not typically proportioned. The CatchUp Chair cannot be outgrown by children (or most adults!). All this adjustability is accomplished easily, (without tools!) which also makes it a perfect addition to classrooms and clinics where it can be quickly adjusted to fit multiple users. This extremely versatile seating system accommodates people up to 250 lbs. with mild to moderate postural support needs.
Standard Features of the CatchUp Chair include:
- Sturdy, Stable and Compact Chair Design which is excellent for use in schools, therapy clinics, hospitals, and home.
- Adjustable Seat Height from 13 inches to 29 inches.
- Adjustable Seat Depth from 11 inches to 17 inches.
- Adjustable Seat Back Height - back height is 14 inches when it's directly in contact with the seat. It can be raised above the seat in 1 inch increments.
- Adjustable Seat to Footrest Height from 4 inches to 18 inches
- Seat and Back Pads (Standard)- 1 inch thick foam padding.
- 3-Point Positioning Pelvic Belt (Standard)- Provides an adjustable hip strap with crotch strap that secures the proper position of the pelvis once it is established.
- 5-Point Positioning Trunk Harness Small & Large (2 Sizes Standard) – Provides adjustable trunk support independent of the hip strap. The trunk harness helps stabilize a midline position with shoulders back which is the foundation for proper head and neck position. The chair comes standard with both sizes of Trunk Harness.
- 4 Swivel Locking Casters (5 in.) make this chair easy to move from one place to another using the Push Handle.
- Push Handle (Standard)- Fixed height of 34 inches from floor, extends off frame’s side rails.
- Metal Frame Components are easily wiped clean/ sanitized between uses and ensure years of reliable use.
- Fabric Components (Seat & Back Pads, Pelvic Belt, Trunk Harnesses) are removable for washing.
Options and Accessories for the Special Tomato CatchUp Chair include:
Height Adjustable Armrests offer the sitter a place to rest their forearms. Weight bearing through the arms helps provide greater stability in the upper trunk which is the foundation of the position of the head and neck. This is especially important for individuals who have decreased strength and endurance of core muscles. Arm Rests are offered in 2 sizes, small and large.
The Tray offers generously shaped dimensions of 24" W x 17" D x 2" H
which provides a large area for positioning of the arms for rest and weight
bearing. The Tray also provides a work surface at just the right height to
optimize functional use of the arms and hands. The Tray comes with a base
mounted storage bracket. Armrests are required for the attachment of the
Backrest Extension for posterior (behind) head support adds an additional 14" above the standard back height. This coupled with a slight recline (10 degrees) in the seat to back angle offer the support needed by individuals with weakness in their core muscles.
Headrest with Lateral Head Support assists with mid-line position of the head. The Backrest Extension is required for use of the Headrest.
The Special Tomato Soft-Touch Seat Liner is a comfortably contoured seat cushion molded to provide medial (inside) and lateral (outside) support for the thighs to help keep the hips and pelvis in a well aligned position. Offered in several sizes, the Seat Liner is attached to the CatchUp Chair using attachment straps.
The Special Tomato Soft-Touch Back Liner is a comfortably contoured back cushion that supports the natural curves of the spine. Back Liners have lateral (side) supports molded into the contour to help the user maintain a midline position. Cushions can be inverted (turned upside down) to raise or lower the height of the lateral support as needed. Offered in several sizes, the Back Liner is attached to the CatchUp Chair using attachment straps.
Special Tomato Soft-Touch Sitter provides a contoured back that supports the natural curvature of the spine. Lateral trunk supports and head support (occipital ridge) are molded into the seat itself and will help the user maintain a well aligned upright position. The contoured seat is designed to allow the ischial tuberosities (ITs) commonly called “sit bones” to comfortably sink into the seat thereby creating the stable base required for the foundation of the seated posture. The contoured seat also includes a 15 degree ramped angle with built in abductor. Both features ensure a well aligned hip position that discourages extensor thrusting. The Soft-Touch Sitter can be attached to the CatchUp Chair, or any stable standard chair using attachment straps. It is also a portable postural support seating system that can be easily carried to anyplace you might need one.
All Soft-Touch products are contoured and textured to discourage sliding forward. They are also impermeable to fluids, easily wiped clean, have antimicrobial properties, are latex-free, and peel- and tear-resistant.
The ergonomic value of a properly fitting chair cannot be overstated. It is challenging to provide a properly fitting chair for rapidly growing children. It is even more challenging to provide a properly fitting chair for individuals with special needs who require more support and safety features with the same degree of adjustability. But Special Tomato® has done it again and we’re sure that you will be more than pleased with the results!