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April 24, 2019

Sammons Preston Gait Belt Review: Is It Reliable?

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I'm often asked by patients and families about using gait belts, which is the safest and if I have any insight on Sammons Preston gait belt. 

Since I've personally used Sammons Preston gait belts with my patients on a regular basis, I decided to look into this question and see which type of gait belt would be best to recommend for home use.

Sammons Preston Gait Belt Review:

Rating: 90/100

Price: Varies from $9 to $35 depending on the style. Check Amazon for Current Price. 

Pros: Thick and stable. Excellent Support. Multiple handle options. Easy Buckle System. 

Bottom Line: Great Gait Belt for elderly or people with mobility issues. The stitching on some of the straps could be stronger but overall a decent product. Recommended. 

What is ​Sammons Preston? 

Sammons Preston is a well established brand in the medical industry. The company has created over 500 products for a wide range of purposes, ranging from sponges to adaptive chairs and straps. 

Overall, the company has a good reputation for creating high quality medical products. They have been in business for over 50 years and their the primary brand for home care and nursery products. 

When you see the brand name before a product you can rest easy knowing the product will be of the highest quality possible.

Sammons Preston Gait Belt review image

Sammons Preston Gait Belts with Handles

​What is a Gait Belt? 

Gait Belts are simple belts designed for people who are struggling with mobility issues. These belts make it easier for nurses or caretakers to transfer patients more safely. The belt wraps around the patient's lumbar spine (lower back) and provides enough support to move the patient without risking injuries. 

Common uses for gait belts include moving someone from a wheelchair to a bed or from a chair to a standing position.

Sammons Preston Gait Belt review image

You'll find gait belts exceptionally useful for the elderly who struggle to stand on their own. They're also useful to support people who have foot or leg injuries. 

Speaking of the elderly, read our list of favorite lift chairs for the elderly here.

These products are lifesavers in many cases as they prevent falling and make it easier for people to make progress with physical therapy.

​How to Use a Gait Belt: 

If a medical professional is not available, you may have to learn how to use it on your own. But no worries, using a Gait Belt is quite simple.

Wrap the belt around the patient's waist, buckle it, and gently use it to assist the patient's natural body movement. You can also hold on to the belt from the sides or rear for more stability. 

Keep in mind, the belt is for assisting people with mobility issues. You need to work together with the patient to lift them. The belt only provides an additional support. The goal is to get the patient to do the work and you support them as needed. 

Check out this Awesome video to see how to use a Gait Belt:

Getting back on topic, Sammons Preston Gait Belts are one of the best in the medical industry. The particular model I will ​be reviewing is a Sammons Preston padded Gait Belt with safety handles.

Right off the bat, there are a few features about this product that stood out to me and ​I'll talk about in this review.

​Sammons Preston Gait Belt Pros: 

This is what I liked:

1. Quick Release Buckle:

​The belt has one large buckle in the center that is easy to secure and release when needed. Very easy to for caretakers to use.

2. Four Safety Straps:

Four safety straps surround the belt. These straps make it easy for nurses to direct the movement of a patient without too much contact.  

3. Comes in 3 Sizes:

This model can be purchased in three waist sizes:

  • Small - 24" - 30" Waist Size
  • Medium - 28" - 48"
  • Large - 40" - 64"

It's also important to keep in mind the size isn't exact, there is room to adjust the belt according to the patient's waist size. The belt can be adjusted with hook and loop system similar to the ones found on backpacks and other types of luggage. Very convenient.

4. Designed from Breathable Fabric:

The belt is very light and made from breathable cool fabric, so long term use is comfortable. Most of the people who have tried this belt say it's very comfortable to use and provides plenty of support. 

5. Wide and Thick:

Most Gait Belts are very skinny and resemble a regular belt, but this product is very thick and wide which provides plenty of support for the lower back region.

In fact, it covers the entire lower back. Great for people who lack ​strength in their lower back.

​Sammons Preston Gait Belt Cons: 

Here's what I think could be improved:

1. Poor Stitching Quality on Handles:

I noticed the support handles are stitched in two places, bottom and top, and the top seems the be quite weak. After reading some reviews, my suspicions were confirmed when someone mentioned the top stitches were the first to break. 

To avoid any accidents, it's best to avoid placing too much strain on any single strap, instead use two or more at a time to evenly distribute the force. Otherwise, the stitching might break. It might even be worth adding another layer of stitching on your own. 

2. Short Adjustment Range:

The adjustment range on these belts is quite short, so it's important to make sure you buy the right weight size. There is an adjustment range, but it's only 6 or so inches. Customers have complained about the weight size on several occasions.

Other people have mentioned the belt sometimes slips out of place, a problem that is unfortunately difficult to solve.

Sammons Preston Gait Belt Options: 

If you're worried about the smaller straps and want something bigger to grip. I recommend the Sammons Preston Gait Belt with the Metal Buckles.

This is what I use with the majority of my patients. The reason being, safety and simplicity. I like to grip the entire belt with one hand as I'm walking with patients within their rooms or home environment. 

If I'm doing sit to stand transfers, I use two hands and again I can grip the entire belt to have more control as I'm guiding the patient through the transfer.  

Below is the alternative Sammons Preston Gait Belt with the Metal Buckles.

Conclusion: 

​So what do I think of this Sammons Preston Gait Belt? Overall, I think the product is great for the price.

It's very sturdy and offers plenty of support for patients, and it's made from high quality materials. 

If you are the primary caretaker of someone with mobility issues, I would recommend trying out one of the Sammons Preston Gait Belts. They're much safer than thin elastic belts, and the straps make it much easier for you to assist your patient. 

In short, I recommend the Sammons Preston Gait Belts. Thanks for taking the time to read this review. If you have any questions leave them below and I'll do my best to answer then. 


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Todd


Todd is an Occupation Therapist and Internet Marketer. He inspires to help others improve their lives through therapy and online education.

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  1. You bet Alblue, after you purchase your Sammons Preston Gait Belt and start using it, you’ll never want to go without it. If you need help, feel free to come back to review this article.

    Thanks,
    Todd

  2. Hi Todd,

    This is very interesting because my father is elderly and he is just recovering from his Guillan-Barre episode that lasted a month after Chinese New Year. It was pretty bad and even now, his mobility hasn’t fully recovered. This belt will be pretty useful because he’s actually quite big and heavy and most of the household are women so yeah, you can say it takes a lot of effort to move him around these days. I may look at you other recommendations for the elderly since my father may finally need some of that stuff.

    1. Thanks an for your feedback on using a gait belt or not. I think it will help your father and his caregivers out immensely. Plus it will make it much more safe to transfer him from place to place. I got another post that I think you might want to check out that’s based on whether elderly people should use a lift chair or not. It talks about the pros and cons and also review some of the basic body mechanics of the sit-to-stand transfer.

      I found with many of my patients that if I can practice this transfer with them and get them to participate in the transfer more, it’s easier for the caregivers and the patient. There’s a video on how to practice these good mechanics in that post that I think you’ll appreciate.

      Here’s the post: Lift Chairs for the Elderly – Consider This…

      Thanks,
      Todd

  3. Hi Todd!  Thank you for this amazing review!  I used to work at a Physical Therapy clinic and am familiar with the Sammons Preston Gait Belt with the Metal Buckles.  We would use this a majority of time with our patients that had trouble with balance.  I really like the option for the heavy duty Sammons Preston Gait Belt with the handles too.  That would be extra helpful for the caregivers.  Great review!

    1. Hi Kareb,

      Caregivers definitely benefit from using this gait belt. I used the same style of Sammons Preston gait belts with the metal buckle and I loved them. They’re very simple and easy to use and you can carry them in your back pocket. So for me as a healthcare provider, I love that style of gait belt. So that’s another cool thing about Sammons Preston gait belts is that they have some options for caregivers.

      Thanks for your kind feedback and have a great day,
      Todd

  4. I’m so glad I saw your article on this. My sister had gotten one for my mother (Dad is caretake) who was having mobility issues. I didn’t know what it was called. I only knew it was to help him get her in and out of the car. Now I know it is a Gait Belt! It worked for him some of the time if she was a willing participant in getting up or in or out of the car. I’m glad to see your other ideas on products that can be used in the home for people with health and mobility issues.

    1. You bet Paula, happy to help and thanks for sharing your experience with working with gait belts. They are very handy a must have for anyone who is taking care of someone with compromised mobility.

      Thanks,
      Todd

  5. As my mother needs more and more care and has more difficulty walking, getting up and down, etc., I’m thinking that a gait belt is going to be a necessity sooner rather than later.  My Dad cares for my mom mostly, and he’s up there in age.  I worry that he might not be able to handle her in the future, and so a gait belt will become necessary for him to safely maneuver her from he rocker to her wheelchair.  Thanks for the tips on how to safely use the gait belt and the best gait belt for us to get for her.

    1. Hi Babsie,

      I would definitely try to encourage your parents to start using a gait belt now. For one it will get them used to using the gait belt which is kind of a pain for most people when they’re not used to putting it on someone and using it.

      So you would get them used to using it on a regular basis which will help for the future but it also will help them today with safety. We never know when a fall is going to happen but we do know that falls are devastating, especially to the elderly. The actual survival rate is lower than you think for people after they’ve had a fall resulting in a hip fracture.

      So in this situation using a gait belt would be a preventive measure that may not seem like it has a lot of benefits to your parents right now, but if it helped them avoid a fall or an accident it would be a God send.

      Trust me, I’ve seen way too many elderly people fall that have devastating consequences on their lives afterwards. So you should get them a gait belt and start getting them used to using it on a regular basis.

      Thanks,
      Todd

  6. Oh thank you for reviewing this gait belt. I’ve been searching for something that can be used to help the caretaker of my grandpa for moving him. It just put a lot of pressure to my grandpa’s body without this tool. I think I am able to cope with the cons of Sammons Preston gait belt, as long as I buy the right size and use it carefully. Thank you for this information.

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