Choosing a Stroller for Special Needs & Disabled Children

A while ago I read on one of parents forums a short conversation. A mom asked if there is a stroller big enough for 60 pound 7 year old. There were a few answers from other parents – pretty judgmental ones – basically saying “Your child should be walking at that age!”

It did not occur to anyone that not all children are able to walk, even at that age…

The mom replied: “I need a stroller for my disabled son who can’t walk. Should we not leave the house at all?”

Reading all of this made me pretty emotional, but it also made me realize that parents of children with disabilities or children with special needs don’t have much choice. Even if they choose a regular stroller with higher weight limit the seat is usually not roomy enough to serve them for longer time.

Strollers for special needs

Child with special needs usually need a stroller when they are older than 5 years, and heavier than 75 pounds. That’s why even regular big kid strollers are not sufficient.

I tried to find a stroller with even higher capacity that would be big enough to accommodate older child/teenager, and doesn’t look like a wheelchair, and it able to go more places.

Fortunately there are some companies that design strollers typically addressed to special needs children. In this article I will review 3 of them which I find the best on the market.

I wrote this article for parents of children with disabilities and children with special needs who have already outgrow regular strollers or simply need a stroller that will serve them for more years.

If you’re looking for a stroller for autistic child or a 10 year old who is not able to walk long distances or a disabled child who can’t walk at all, you’re in the right place.

1. Special Tomato EIO Push Chair

Special Tomato EIO
Special Tomato EIO

Special Tomato EIO is the lightest stroller for child with special needs that I review here. It weighs only 22 pounds which means it’s lighter than many regular strollers! Its size is similar to BOB Revolution FLEX jogger therefore it is bigger than most everyday strollers, but it’s not excessively bulky.

We recommend it for daily walks in the city, trips to parks or even for occasional off-road excursions (on hard-packed gravel). It accommodates taller kid than regular strollers do – up to 50″. EIO is often chosen as stroller for autistic child or stroller for child with cerebral palsy.

Quick Overview – Reasons to choose Special Tomato EIO

  • It’s one of the best strollers for child with special needs / disability who need a stroller with longer usability; parents recommend it for children up to 4-6 years old
  • It’s a great stroller for child who is too heavy for a regular stroller (over 60/75 pounds)
  • It is the best special needs child stroller for everyday use because it’s not super bulky and heavy; but keep in mind it’s not meant for jogging
  • Special strollers for disabled children are expensive, this one is the most affordable that I found (you can check its current price for example on Amazon)

Special Tomato EIO as a stroller for child with disability – Full Review

At the beginning I’d like to focus on EIO seat. What distinguishes this stroller is the amount of padding. The whole seat is really cushy and supportive at the same time.

Seat fabric is removable and machine-washable, which is really awesome. In case something spills out or the child vomits, you can easily get rid of all stains. Not all strollers allow you to detach the whole seat cover for washing, therefore I find it a big advantage!

As a stroller for child with special needs, EIO has additional lateral pillows and a head cushion which help to keep the passenger securely in place, support their body and prevent them from bumping from side to side.

Of course each pillow is removable so you can adjust the seat to your passenger’s needs.

It is noteworthy that the seat is not fully upright like a wheelchair. The seat angle is 20 degrees and it’s fixed, while the backrest angle is adjustable. You can recline it from 25 to 75 degrees (from vertical). If you child ever gets tired and sleepy, the lowest position will be perfect for a nap on the go.

Special Tomato EIO - Special Needs Child Stroller
This special needs stroller has removable canopy, reclining seat and adjustable leg rest

What I love about this special need stroller is that the leg rest is adjustable. It goes up to 15 degrees (from horizontal). I think this feature will be very useful for a child who has problems with bending their knees.

EIO stroller comes with additional foot block that you can attach to the leg rest. It can be easily moved up and down, for the best support for passenger feet. It’s a great solution for shorter child who’s feet can’t reach the footwell yet.

Another feature that makes EIO a great stroller for special needs child is the 8-point harness: 5-point upper harness with nicely padded chest and shoulders straps, and 3-point harness for pelvic and hip area.

EIO harness doesn’t block your child movements, but protects them from sliding or falling out of the stroller.

Special Tomato EIO - 8-point harness
EIO has 8-point harness for passenger’s chest and pelvic area. It has also a head cushion and a few side supporting pillow

Keep in mind that you won’t find 8-point harness on a regular stroller. I think it’s a great advantage of EIO.

Now, let’s take a look at the canopy. It has one panel and flip out sun visor. If you use this stroller for older child with special needs, the canopy will be sufficient for shading their head and keeping sun out of their eyes.

There is also peek-a-boo window on the canopy, therefore you can check on your kiddo whenever you want.

Special Tomato EIO – Conveniences for parents

The manufacturer took care of both – child and parents comfort. There are a few features that make this stroller for special needs really user-friendly.

EIO has a decent storage basket underneath the seat with capacity of 10 pounds. It’s big enough to fit a medium diaper bag or backpack. There is also additional pocket on the back of the stroller for your valuables and two mesh pouches on each side of the stroller where you can keep some beverages.

Another feature that makes this stroller convenient to use is adjustable handlebar. You can rotate it from 30″ to 42″ from the ground. That’s to this feature pushing EIO is easy for short and tall caregivers.

One-touch parking brake is one more user-friendly function. To secure the stroller and prevent it from rolling away you just need to press the rear brake with your foot, and lift it to make the stroller rolling again.

Where you can use EIO Push Chair?

Special Tomato EIO has quite large wheels
EIO is not suitable for jogging, but it works great for walking on different types of terrain

Stroller that is meant for a child with special needs, should make going out of the house easier. And you should be able to take it not only for a walk on a pavement, but also stroll to the park, go shopping or run some errands with it. And with EIO you can definitely do all of that.

It has quite large wheels with non-inflatable tires. Rear wheels are 11″, front ones are 9″. They are big enough to handle slightly rough terrain, especially when you lock the front wheels. Additionally, spring suspension soaks up bumps therefore the stroller doesn’t wiggle that much and your child doesn’t get bumped around. Of course large cracks may be more noticeable.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons

Pros


+ Fits larger and taller kids than regular stroller

+ Adjustable leg rest is useful for kids with legs/knees problems

+ Generously padded seat with additional pillows that support child's body and prevent them from sliding from side to side

+ 8-point harness for exceptional protection

+ Weighs only 22 lbs - less than other strollers for special needs

Cons


- Long wheelbase - in tight places you need to be careful not to hit anything

- Large fold - it will probably take the whole space in a medium size car trunk

Special Tomato EIO Push Chair – Specification

Special Tomato EIO Push Chair has more roomy seat than regular strollers have, to accommodate older and larger child. I checked it online reviews and it turns out that parents use EIO stroller for special needs toddlers or even for 6 year old children (if you want to check customer reviews on your own click here).

Brand’s recommendation is: child’s height up to 50″, max. head height – 26″.

There is also option of removing the canopy therefore even a taller disabled child can use this stroller (if he/she doesn’t need a headrest).

Here are all dimensions – don’t forget to verify if they match your child size.

Stroller TypeData
Stroller Capacity90 pounds
Recommended Height30" - 50" (approx.)
Seatback Height24"
Seat Size14" x 12" (W x D)
Seat To Footwell13"
Handlebar Height30" - 43"
Wheels Size11" in the back & 9" in the front
Open Stroller Dimensions46" x 24" x 45" (L x W x H)
Folded Stroller Dimensions43" x 24" x 20" (L x W x H)
Stroller Weight22 lbs

2. Special Tomato Jogger

Special Tomato Jogger
Special Tomato Jogger

Special Tomato Jogger is a great all-terrain jogging stroller for special needs child. It is suitable for walking and jogging on rough trails – pneumatic tires, suspension and well-padded seat provide comfortable and smooth ride for the child. Thanks to this stroller parents can stay active and do their favorite exercises without compromising their child’s comfort or safety.

And what’s really awesome, this stroller weighs only 27 pounds – less than popular regular jogging strollers, and it’s not bigger or bulkier than them!

Quick Overview – Reasons to choose Special Tomato Jogger

  • This is a stroller for child with mild to moderate disability
  • It’s a great choice for parents who like light jogging and long walks on more rugged terrain
  • It is the lightest jogging stroller designed for special needs child
  • The seat is more upright so it’s a good choice for children who are able and like to sit more up

Special Tomato Jogger as a stroller for child with disability – Full Review

Similar to EIO, Jogger is nicely padded and comes with a removable, reversible upholstery which is really useful. You can use the warmer fleece side during winter and the canvas insert during summer days. Another good thing is that the seat fabric and the insert are removable and machine-washable. It’s really helpful, especially when the child has continence difficulties or often spits.

It is noticeable that in contrast to EIO, Jogger doesn’t include lateral back pillows. But you can still add Special Tomato Sitter or Liner to provide more support for your child.

The good thing is that Jogger has 8-point harness that nicely holds child’s chest and hips in place. Once again, regular strollers have only 5-point harness. I think 8-point harness is a big advantage when you want to use a stroller for child with special needs. It secures the child from falling out and sliding from side to side.

Jogger seat has adjustable backrest – the highest position is 10 degrees from vertical, and the backrest goes down to 50 degrees from vertical. It’s not a very deep recline but sufficient for resting during walks.

There is also a non-adjustable leg rest. It has side guards that keep child’s legs from falling out. Therefore you don’t have to worry about your kid’s feet dragged on the ground or touching the front wheel.

The only downside for me is the canopy being on smaller side. It doesn’t provide much shade but at least covers child’s head. On a positive note it has a peek-a-boo window so you could always keep an eye on your little adventurer.

Special Tomato Jogger - Adjustable handlebar and canopy
Here you can see that the canopy is not very big. On a positive note it has a viewing window. Jogger is also equipped with rotating handlebar

Special Tomato Jogger – Conveniences for parents

To make pushing and steering more comfortable this jogging stroller has an adjustable, rotating handlebar. The height settings range from 35 to 43 inches from the ground. Whether you 5’2” or 6’2” you’ll be able to adjust the handle to your needs.

There are a few other features that make this stroller rolling like a breeze: strong but lightweight frame, rear suspension, 3-wheel design with lockable front wheel and air-filled tires.

It’s really amazing that this jogging stroller for special needs child weighs only 27 pounds. BOB Revolution FLEX and PRO, Chicco TRE, Baby Jogger Summit X3 are just a few joggers that are heavier than Special Tomato Jogger!

Its size (overall height and wheelbase length) is similar to regular jogging strollers. Of course it’s rather not a good choice to take it to a small grocery store, but zoo, Disney or other theme parks won’t be a problem.

What you will also like about this stroller is the storage basket below the seat – it’s not large, but can fit a backpack or some groceries. Just like other jogging strollers, Special Tomato jogger is equipped with a wrist strap to prevent the stroller from rolling away from you.

There’s one more feature worth mentioning here. This special needs stroller is very easy to fold down in just one step.

Special Tomato Jogger - Fold
Special Tomato Jogger is easy to fold down. You can also detach the wheels to make it more compact

Where you can use Special Tomato Jogger?

This is a jogging stroller for special needs child but it’s designed not only for running parents. If you like long distances or walking at higher pace, or if there are many country gravel roads in your neighborhood, then this is a great choice.

This model has 12″ wheels with pumped tires. They handle more types of terrain than EIO Push Chair wheels. Thanks to rear suspension bumps are less noticeable. Gravel trails, grass, cracked sidewalks – this jogger will handle them easily.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons

Pros


+ Very smooth ride on multiple types of terrain (including uneven surfaces)

+ Reversible seat padding for different weather conditions

+ This stroller fits even a 7 year old child

+ Footwell has sidewalls to prevent child's legs from dragging on the ground

+ 8-point harness with padded straps for child's security and comfort

+ Easy folding

Cons


- Small canopy

- Fold on larger side - takes up a lot of space in a car trunk

- Head support sold separately

Special Tomato Jogger – Specification

Special Tomato Jogger has slightly longer seat and higher weight limit than EIO Push Chair which means it can fit even taller and heavier child. If you are looking for a jogging stroller for older child with special needs or a stroller for 60lb child with disability, this is one of the best choices.

Age and height limit is 7 years and/or 50″-52″ (approximately).

Here are all dimensions – compare them with your child size.

Stroller typeData
Stroller Capacity110 pounds
Max. Head Height27"
Seatback Height25"
Seat Size14" x 12" (W x D)
Seat To Footwell15"
Handlebar Height35" - 43"
Wheels Size12"
pen Stroller Dimensions42" x 26" x 43" (L x W x H)
Folded Stroller Dimensions (w/o rear wheels)21" x 33" x 16"
Stroller Weight27 lbs

3. Advanced Mobility Freedom

Advanced Mobility Freedom by Baby Jogger
Advanced Mobility Freedom

This is the largest stroller for special needs that I want to present here. It’s designed by Advanced Mobility, Division of Baby Jogger and can hold a passenger up to 200 pounds! It’s suitable for older children with special needs, teenagers and even adults!

I went through online reviews that previous buyers wrote for this stroller and I found out that it’s really popular, regardless the age of the passenger. Parents use this stroller for 7 year old or 13 year old children with disabilities and disorders like cerebral palsy, epilepsy, mental disorders, autism. It is noteworthy that the seat is roomy enough to accommodate adults too (check these Amazon customer reviews: #1 & #2)

People really like this stroller, not only because of its size, but mostly because it can handle multiple types of terrain and allows you to go where the wheelchair can’t go.

Freedom is a great solution for active families that like running marathons or going to the woods and moors. It also works fantastic for everyday walks with disabled children and teenagers who can’t fit in a regular stroller anymore. For example this stroller is suitable for 100-pound child or a 4’7″ tall teenager with room to spare.

Quick Overview – Reasons to choose Freedom stroller

  • Many caregivers and disabled children/teenagers like Freedom because it doesn’t look like a wheelchair and can go many more places than wheelchair can
  • It can grow with your child – even a 4’7″ person still has a room to grow in it
  • It’s a great stroller for 10 year old, teenager or short adult with disabilities
  • Works fantastic for running in local runs and walking on rugged terrain
  • Freedom is a long-term investment (to check its price and available discount visit Amazon)

Advanced Mobility Freedom as a stroller for child with disability – Review

Let me start by saying that Freedom is usually most comfortable from 5 years and up. It’s too big for toddlers. But what’s important – there is no age limit – all depends on the passenger size.

I’ve read in customer reviews on Amazon that parents use this stroller for disabled children who are over 4ft tall and still have plenty room to grow in it. It’s roomy enough for teenagers and short adults.

Of course, in order to accommodate such a big passenger, the stroller os also pretty large – much bigger than regular stroller. But what’s really interesting is that it’s not excessively heavy! It weighs about 30 pounds – similar to some single joggers (for example BOB Revolution PRO).

 

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Great day for a walk to the park #familylife #freedomstroller

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The seat has padded bottom and back and 5-point harness that prevents the passenger from sliding off the seat. The harness is highly adjustable to fit growing passenger. The seat can be reclined to provide more comfortable position for resting.

Manufacturer mentions that some caregivers customize the seat and attach additional body cushions and supporting pillows designed by other brands. The brand also mentions that although Freedom is a stroller for special needs, the seat may be not suitable for a person who requires postural support. In this case you should consult it with your physiotherapist whether you can use this stroller and whether you need additional support pillows.

There is a fixed leg rest and plastic footwell which is easy to clean from sand or mud. I only wish the leg rest had some kind of sidewalls to keep passenger’s legs in place.

What’s really awesome is that you can customize your Freedom stroller with Advanced Mobility accessories – for example you can extend the footwell by 5″ or ass a roll cushion that makes the seat slightly deeper and prevents the passenger from sliding down the seat on uneven ground – it’s useful especially for a disabled person who can’t maintain seated position.

What you will also like about Freedom seat is the generous canopy. It provides good amount of shade for the passenger and there is also a viewing window for the caregiver.

Advanced Mobility Freedom – Conveniences for parents

Freedom was designed for disabled child/ adult, with caregiver comfort in mind as well. First of all, its weight is similar to regular single jogging strollers. Lifting it to the car trunk is definitely doable even for a short person.

Even though it weighs 30 pounds it feels easy to push and steer – thanks to good weight distribution. It may become harder to steer when the passenger reaches 150 pounds.

Freedom handlebar is non-adjustable, it’s set at 40 inches from the ground. It’s a good position for majority of people, but for a person shorter than 5’2″ or higher than 6’2″ it may be less comfortable to push.

Under the seat there is a storage basket. It’s not huge, but you’ll be able to fit there your necessities for a day trip. There is also additional mesh pocket on the stroller back. You can keep there your wallet, phone and other essentials.

This jogging stroller has a dual parking brake operated by foot. I would prefer one pedal, instead of two, but it’s a minor drawback. On a positive note, Freedom is the only stroller for special needs in this ranking, that is equipped with additional handbrake. It works exactly like a bike handbrake and allows you to easily control the speed. It’s very useful, because controlling the stroller with heavier occupant is not that easy actually, especially when going downhill. There is also a safety wrist strap.

The biggest drawback in my opinion is the folding mechanism. Freedom has different frame construction than other strollers – in order to accommodate heavier passenger. Because of that folding it down takes few steps and requires a bit of disassembly. It may take even a few minutes when you do it for the first time, but once you master it, you’ll be doing it much quicker.

Check the video below – this guy does it within 75 seconds! 🙂

Where you can use Advanced Mobility Freedom?

Large seat is not the only thing that makes Freedom a fantastic stroller for special needs. Another huge advantage is that it’s basically all-terrain and you can run with it. And I’m not talking about occasional light jogging here – lots of people use Freedom for running marathons with their disabled children (you can find out more out it in customer reviews on Amazon).

This stroller has three wheel design – each wheel is 16″ and has pumped tire. The front wheel is fixed (you can’t unlock it). It’s perfect for running/ walking on rugged surfaces like unbeaten trails, rutted tracks, and generally speaking – it works best for moving at higher pace. Larger, pumped tires make the ride pretty smooth for the occupant.

What’s really awesome about Freedom is that it comes with additional set of swivel front wheels (two sets of dual rubber wheels). They works great on flat, urban surfaces and make the stroller more agile. These wheels should be used only for walking, and only on smooth terrain, especially when you need the stroller to be more maneuverable and easier to turn.

Keep in mind that Freedom has a very long wheelbase – much longer than other strollers for disabled children and regular strollers. Therefore it’s not good for tight places like crowded shopping mall, small grocery stores, schools etc. Unfortunately because of its length Freedom is prohibited in Disney (the limit is 52″).

Most people use Freedom as a stroller for special needs child for outdoor excursions like 10K or marathons, walks in woodlands, moorlands, parks and countryside.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons

Pros


+ Ultra-large seat that will serve you FOR YEARS - you won't find a better stroller for child with special needs

+ Good-sized canopy

+ Pneumatic tires handle rough terrain/p>

+ Good for beginners and advanced runners

+ For its size it's for very heavy

+ Sturdy and easy to steer with 100-pound kid in it

Cons


- Large construction, long wheelbase - poor maneuverability in tight places like stores

- Fold is complicated, requires practice and takes time

Advanced Mobility Freedom – Specification

Brand recommends this stroller for 5 years old and up. This stroller doesn’t have any age limit – the seat is very generous and may serve you even to adulthood.

Below you can see all dimensions:

Stroller typeData
Stroller Capacity200 pounds
Max. Head Height29" - 30"
Seat Back Height27"
Seat Size18" x 15" (W x D)
Seat To Footwell17"
Handlebar Height40"
Wheels Size16"
Open Stroller Dimensions68" x 30.5" x 41" (L x W x H)
Folded Stroller Dimensions20" x 30.5" x 53" (L x W x H)
Stroller Weight30 lbs

This article was written for those who need a specialized stroller for disabled/ special needs child. I felt it’s a very important topic, often a bit neglected on parenting websites…

I hope it will help you to narrow down your choice and choose the best stroller for your family needs.

Please keep in mind that these strollers are different from regular big kid strollers that I reviewed in other article, because they are designed especially for special needs children and have much higher capacity.

If you have any doubts or need more help with choosing the stroller – let me know in the comment section below!


Pictures of Special Tomato EIO and Jogger strollers belong to Special Tomato. Source: https://www.specialtomato.com

Picture of Advanced Mobility Freedom stroller belong to Advanced Mobility (Division of Baby Jogger). Source:  https://www.advancemobility.co.uk

Other sources:

https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/special-needs.html

https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/children/


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Choosing a Stroller for Special Needs & Disabled Children

  1. Hi, we are looking for a stroller for my daughter of 8 years old and her weight 90 lbs , please let us know the suitable stroller. I think this type (Advanced Mobility Freedom)

    1. Hi Roy!
      How tall is your daughter?
      Special Tomato Jogger has capacity of 110 pounds so it could hold her, but the max. head height is 27″ so you need to check if it fits her lengthwise.
      Advanced Mobility Freedom will be definitely roomy enough (it fits even teenagers and adults), but keep in mind it’s quite big. Rather not good for indoor use like at the mall, but excellent for walking or even jogging in parks etc.

  2. Thank you so much! These stroller posts are very helpful. I have a 5 year old with special needs and she cannot walk, so I’m researching stroller options.

    1. Hi Alexis! Thank you for your comment, I’m glad that you find my post helpful! Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

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