Specially designed car seats can be invaluable for helping disabled children to maintain an upright position in the vehicle and can make travelling much more safe and fun.
The seats listed here have either a swivel mechanism and/or a backrest which can be tilted back. The swivel base can make transferring your child in and out of the car easier. Tilting backrests or seats are useful for children with poor head control - especially when used in conjunction with head supports. But take care that your child doesn't spend the whole journey staring at the roof of your car.
They usually incorporate a five-point harness, adjustable seat length and backrest height and may have additional posture pads. They are anchored into a vehicle like standard car seats. You should look for features that will meet your child's specific needs such as a padded headrest or a deeper seat - an occupational therapist may be able to advise you on this. Read more on the features of specialised car seats.
It is very important to try out a car seat before purchase to check that it meets the needs of your child, and that it can be fitted safely into your vehicle. The shape of car seats, the length of seat belts and the position of seat belt anchor points differ between cars, so not all child seats fit all cars. Read more on choosing specialised car seats.
Car seats are generally not funded via Health or Social Services. You might consider using the mobility component of your Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to purchase a seat. Alternatively, you can view our list of charitable funding organisations.
There is a European standard ECE R44 that applies to child car seats. The standard approves them for use in forward and rearward facing vehicle seats. It is illegal for retailers to sell child restraints that do not meet this standard. From March '08 it also became illegal to use child car seats that do not meet this standard. Before buying - look for the 'E' mark.
Never fit a rearward-facing seat in the front of your car if there is an airbag on the passenger side, because if the airbag went off, it would strike the seat with considerable force. Check what your car handbook says about children in forward-facing seats with frontal air bags, as this can vary from car to car.View references and sources of further information ›
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