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Car seat safety.

When children with disabilities and/or illnesses have special seating needs, parents and the clinical team need to discuss the best way for the child to ride safely in the specific type of automobile used by the family. They also need to carefully review the various products and the available product literature.

The table in this article lists products which meet the following special seating needs: children (infants) weighing less than 20 pounds; children who must be transported lying down; children needing help with trunk control; children needing help with trunk control and head control; children in hip spica casts; children dependent on ventilators; and children with behavior problems who cannot use regular automobile seats belts or car seats. Some of the products in the table require additional seat belts or tethers; some seats convert into a stroller; some are adjustable.

Some children with special seating needs can use conventional convertible (convertible to a stroller) car safety seats or standard child safety seats available in many retail stores. Conventional convertible car safety seats are designed for children from birth to 40 pounds in weight and 40 inches tall. Booster seats can be used for children from 30 to 60 pounds or until the mid-point of a child's head exceeds the back of the vehicle seat.

Children under 50 pounds can ride in a child safety seat that meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213.

For smaller children in car seats, blanket rolls can sometimes be used at the sides or crotch to improve positioning.

A safety vest can be used when larger children need to ride lying flat. A vest can also be used for children who need added trunk support when seated or who, for safety reasons, need to be restrained.

When children are too large to be comfortable in a standard car seat but need head or trunk support, larger car seats are available. When children ride along with medical equipment like ventilators, besides providing for the child's needs, special care must be taken to secure the equipment.
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Title Annotation:for children with disabilities
Author:Stroup, Karen Bruner
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Oct 1, 1991
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