WC19 Wheelchair Safety Standard

You can never be too safe when it comes to your child, which is why every Convaid transit wheelchair meets or exceeds WC19 safety standards. WC19 Wheelchair Safety Standard is a voluntary standard, which improves the safety and security of your child when seated in their wheelchair aboard a school bus or van. Their safety and security applies to all aspects of transportation, but particularly in the event of a vehicle crash.

History of the WC19 Safety Standard for Wheelchairs

WC19 Wheelchair Safety Standard came into existence because there are no Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for wheelchairs used as seating in a motor vehicle. For this reason, RESNA and ISO developed this voluntary industry standard known as “WC19 Wheelchair Safety Standard”*.

WC19 Wheelchair Safety Standard addresses issues of wheelchair design and performance related to its use as seating in a motor vehicle, but its main purpose is to improve the safety and security of the wheelchair occupant during transportation. Therefore, WC19-compliant wheelchairs, or “transit” wheelchairs, are equipped with an array of features, such as anchor points for securing the transit wheelchair to the frame of the bus or van and an attachment point for occupant restraints to protect the safety of the wheelchair occupant. Labeling and documentation are also an important part of the WC19 standard.

WC19 Safety Resources

For more in-depth information about WC19 Wheelchair Safety Standard and transporting students with special needs, please visit one of the following websites:

You can also download a copy of our Transit Safety Brochure.

Glossary of Abbreviations:

RESNA — Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America
ISO — International Standardization Organization
WC19 Wheelchair Safety Standard — Section 19 of RESNA WC/Volume 1: Wheelchairs for Use in Motor Vehicle
WC19 — WC19 (sometimes written as WC-19) refers specifically to general design requirements, test procedures, and performance requirements for manual and powered wheelchairs that are designed to offer safe forward-facing seating for passengers traveling in any motor vehicle.
Crash Testing – When a wheelchair has been “crash tested” it means it has gone through a dynamic crash test to verify the integrity of the wheelchair and the safety of its occupants in the event of a crash. The crash test is done in accordance with WC19 accepted industry standards.
WC20 – WC20 addresses general design requirements, test procedures, and performance requirements for seating systems. By using both a WC19 compliant wheelchair in combination with WC20 compliant after-market seating or positioning components, the wheelchair is safe to transport forward facing in a vehicle.
Transit chair – A wheelchair that meets the design and performance requirements of WC19. These chairs are labeled to show that they comply with WC19.
Postural/Postioning Harness — A padded component and/or belt used to help maintain a person in a desired position during normal wheelchair use.  In general postural supports are not designed to provide effective occupant restraint in a motor vehicle.
Restraint Harness — A system or device designed to restrain a motor vehicle occupant in a crash by keeping the occupant in the vehicle seat and minimizing contact with the vehicle interior, other occupants, or objects outside the vehicle.