Standard seat belts may not offer sufficient support to disabled children and as a result, children can fall sideways, forwards and downwards in the seat during transport. Therefore, it may be necessary to provide an extra restraint in combination with the existing seat belt. This combination offers added security and ensures disabled children will be well protected during transport.
These specialised belts and harnesses are not designed to replace seat belts, but work in conjunction with them to offer safety plus support and in some cases, a degree of restraint. They usually attach around the back of the car seat. It should be ensured that children are adequately restrained, whilst still allowing quick release in an emergency.
Some of these specialised harnesses can be put on your child outside your vehicle. The car's seat belt is then threaded through and an additional strap is secured to the car anchor point or clipped around the seat.
Children under 135cm tall (4' 5") must be raised (for example, on a 'booster cushion') so that the harness fits appropriately (across the hips, not across the stomach).
Make sure you get a demonstration on how to fasten and unfasten belts and harnesses before you buy them.
Belts and harnesses should be replaced if they show any signs of fraying or cuts and especially if they have been involved in an accident.
Children with challenging behaviour such as undoing seat belts, or struggling out of harnesses can cause a danger to themselves and others in the vehicle. These children may require the type of harness that will hold them to the vehicle seat during transport. Or alternatively, a seat belt buckle guard may prevent a child releasing the seat belt, whilst still allowing an adult to achieve this.
You may need to consider a groin or crotch strap with the harness, to avoid the risk of your child sliding through.View references and sources of further information ›
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