Transporting disabled children's equipment in the car
Safe and secure
If you have to travel with bulky equipment because of your child's disability, you'll obviously need to be sure that there's room in the car and that the equipment can be stored securely and safely.
Heavy and bulky equipment needs to be transported in the boot. Only carry equipment in the passenger cabin when it's securely fastened to prevent it from moving around in an accident.
Equipment you may be taking with you can include:
- wheelchair or therapeutic seating
- standing or lying frame
- walking frame or cycle
- toilet or shower seat
- medical equipment, including feeding pumps, suction machines, ventilators and oxygen cylinders
You can use a ramp, hoist or lift to help get a wheelchair or other mobility equipment into the car.
If you're getting a new car and you're thinking about getting a hoist fitted, speak to the installer before buying your car. They'll be able to tell you which cars you can fit a hoist to.
Make sure your car boot is big enough to take the equipment you're planning to stow in it.
Medical equipment - such as feeding pumps, ventilators attached to tracheostomies, and oxygen cylinders - needs to be transported carefully.
Think about how you can transfer it into and out of the car, and how you can secure it while you're under way.
- If necessary, feeding pumps can be temporarily disconnected while you transfer the child into and out of the car. They're also quite light, so they're not difficult to secure.
- You may not be able to disconnect a ventilator even temporarily - you'll need to be able to put the child into their seat first, and stow the ventilator afterwards.
- You may be able to wedge a ventilator into the footwell or under the seat. If not, it will have to be secured with a seat belt. An adaptation company may be able to fit a suitable strap.
- Oxygen cylinders also need to be properly secured. The oxygen supplier will provide you with a warning sticker, which must be displayed on the outside of the car. You need to tell your insurance company if you're carrying oxygen in your car.
Usually, you're only eligible for a Blue Badge when your child reaches the age of three, but you can apply before then for a child who is dependent on medical equipment or who might need emergency medical treatment.
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