Just Strap It: How These Quads Stay Upright


In the land of spinal cord injuries, quadriplegics are definitely on the short end of the stick when it comes to our balance. Many of us have to wear what’s called a chest strap; one of those love them/hate them accoutrements of life with a cervical spinal cord injury.

They’re unsightly, but boy can they save you from so many near-death situations, you know…keeping you in your chair at all times. Kind of important stuff. But there are more than just the vinyl/velcro chest strap contraptions out there to meet your chest strap needs.

Several homemade versions exist, and doing what we do well, we have found some of the best. Check out these three DIY chest strap videos that may get you rethinking your current chest strapping situation.

Video #1: Finally…success with hiding a chest strap

In this outstanding video – if you have to use chest straps, here comes a method for finally hiding ye olde ugly chest strap; something I’m sure many of you have thought about. Such a badly needed tip!

Watch as he shows the sneaky holes he puts in the armpits of his shirts where he’s able to snake through the chest strap. It’s a brilliant way to both hide a chest strap and hide the holes for the straps. Since he is a C4 quad and doesn’t move his arms that much, most people don’t even realize the holes are there too.

Watch: Hiding a WC chest strap

Video #2: Custom “greatest” chest strap from Melrose Wheelchair

Want the freedom to be able to throw yourself around without absolutely any fear of falling out of your wheelchair? A quadriplegic in Florida who runs the video channel “Life in a Nursing Home” is a believer in the $75 chest straps from Melrose Wheelchairs, a company out of New Zealand.

They make heavy-duty chest straps that have two buckles, 99% making it impossible for you to ever fall out. Sound like something you’re interested in? If so, check the strap out here, but first make sure to watch the video from “Life in a Nursing Home.” Is always good to get a user’s opinion first.

Watch: Greatest Chest Strap for Quadriplegics

Video # 3: Automated up & down chest usage

And in another brilliant DIY that’s rocking the chest strap world, here comes an electronic chest strap featured by the Duchenne Foundation Australia; a progressive neurological condition similar to MS.

Doug, a young man with the condition, has hardwired his chest strap to his joystick. When he pushes his joystick switch forward, the chest strap loosens, and when he brings the switch back towards him, the strap tightens. We love it!

Watch: Electronic chest strap

The moral of the story – you can always improve upon an old wheelchair accessory. Don’t ever accept something “as is” if you don’t like it. Improve upon it! All of us are in this disability community together, and every time one of us invents something, we are helping thousands of others.

How do you like to wear your chest strap?

Watch the videos!

Hiding a WC chest strap

Greatest Chest Strap for Quadriplegics

Electronic chest strap

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