Pride Acquires Kids Up

Pride Mobility Products has acquired Kids Up, which is readying to open for business again nearly six months after the Montana-based manufacturer of dynamic seating and mobility systems shut its doors.

On June 6, Kids Up will once again begin taking orders. In December, the company announced it had stopped accepting orders and was closing up. Kids Up is best known for its pediatric dynamic seating systems, which enable children to move while maintaining proper positioning.

Jay Brislin, MSPT, Pride's director of Quantum Rehab product and clinical development, said in an interview with Mobility Management that Kids Up production will remain in Montana, and that the facility has been renamed Quantum Montana.

Brislin added, "We are keeping all of their product lines (including) their dynamic seating, which can be an optional component for their Kids Fast chair, their Rock 2 and their Rock 3. We're also keeping their LifeForm positioning components, which go with those products."

Smoothing the Transition

Brislin and other members of Quantum Rehab, Pride's complex rehab technology division, say they've been working hard with the management of Kids Up to ensure as seamless a transition and restart as possible.

Megan Kutch, MS, OTR, Quantum applications and clinical development manager, said in an interview, "At this time, we will not be renaming any of the products or product lines. That's due to the simple fact of the name recognition in the rehab industry."

Providers and clinicians calling on Kids Up may also recognize many of the voices on the other end of the phone.

"Many of the former Kids Up employees have joined the Quantum Rehab team, which we're really excited about," Kutch said. "They've worked closely with our management team to prepare for the operational processes, a lot of the training procedures, and integrating the company with Quantum Rehab."

Among those becoming part of Quantum Montana is Dale Mandeville, former president of Kids Up. Kids Up orders, quotes and shipments will be handled by the Montana location.

Brislin said Quantum Rehab, as part of its relaunch planning, took into consideration the fact that providers and clinicians may be very eager to order replacement parts, since such parts have been unavailable for nearly six months.

"It's something we wanted to be prepared for," he said, referring to a possible clamor for replacement parts. "We didn't want to launch this facility and not be able to fulfill orders."

In fact, Brislin said, Kids Up's restart was timed to ensure that when doors opened again, Quantum Rehab would be ready, with parts in stock - which took advance planning and preparation, given that Kids Up had stopped production months ago.

"The last thing we wanted to do was start this off on a bad foot and not necessarily be able to fulfill (orders)," Brislin said. "That's why we took a little more time, with the launch (planned for) June 6, because we feel comfortable that no matter what the request is, we're going to be able to fulfill it in a timely fashion."

Seating that Moves

While Kids Up offers a number of products, it's best known for its dynamic seating for kids.

"Dynamic seating is important because it provides a child or adolescent with the ability to flex and extend their knees and hips while maintaining that proper postural alignment," Kutch said. "The unique feature of dynamic seating is that when the child relaxes, their body is going to return to the proper seated position."

That helps to provide proper positioning for longer periods of time during the day, and reduces the amount of time a caregiver needs to spend repositioning a child who's moved, Kutch said.

In addition to potentially improving comfort levels, dynamic seating is critical because "all children get excited about moving around and exploring their environment," Kutch said. "Dynamic seating offers a child the ability to move in their chair while in that seated position instead of being confined constantly in one position throughout the day. This can help increase their overall independence and also provide increased range of motion that could help them to improve their overall mobility."

Kids Up has mostly been thought of as a pediatric-focused company, but the Rock 3 system can accommodate larger sizes, including seat depths up to 17 inches.

Brislin is also excited about Kids Up's LifeForm positioning components, which he said the industry may not be totally aware of at this point.

He hinted at possible future collaborations between Kids Up and Quantum Rehab product lines - and expect to start seeing Kids Up products and technology incorporated into Quantum Rehab exhibits and educational sessions at industry events.

"Our goal is to reintroduce all the Kids Up product lines back into the community, to make sure that (providers) know we will be able to fill any demand that there is out there for it," Brislin said. "We also feel that there's a ton of markets out there that haven't even been touched. We feel we can get this message out to a lot more people and ultimately to a lot more clients that can really benefit from these products."

Visit Kids Up at kidsupco.com.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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