All children need to travel safely and comfortably to and from places such as school, leisure activities or medical appointments. Children with additional needs (e.g. due to a medical condition or behavioural problem) often require special consideration when being transported in cars. For some parents and carers of children with a disability, it can be challenging to find a restraint that meets their child’s special needs. It’s important to find the right restraint to reduce the risk of injury to a child in a crash.
The Transportation of Children with Additional Needs (TOCAN) partnership has created a website resource to help parents ensure their child is legally and safely restrained, and to assist health practitioners assess children and prescribe modified or specialised restraints.
The site also includes information on funding options for parents and contact details for suppliers. In special circumstances, a child restraint that does not comply with the Australian Standard can be used by children with additional needs so they can be transported safely. In this situation, the child will need an exemption from using a restraint meeting the Australian Standard, which can be obtained when a number of conditions are met, such as a medical certificate.
It is important to remember that parents and carers of children with additional needs must consult with a health professional, such as an Occupational Therapist, who will help them choose the most suitable restraint for their child. Health professionals involved in this process use the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4370:2013 (Restraint of Children with Disabilities, or Medical Conditions, in Motor Vehicles) to assist them in assessing and recommending the most suitable option for restraining a child with additional needs in a vehicle.
TOCAN continue to work on transportation issues related to children, adolescents and youth. It is the goal of TOCAN for young people to travel as safely as possible.
For more information about the transportation of children and youth with additional needs, see the TOCAN website.