Car seats and harnesses for children with physical disabilities
The information about specialist car seats and harnesses on this page is unique to the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers - you won't find such detail anywhere else.
Good postural support is important for many physically disabled children.
For some babies and small children, standard child car seats provide enough postural support. Some children, however, will need more specialist seating.
- A seat that can be tilted backwards - especially if it has a good head support - can help maintain an upright posture.
- Side prompts give extra support to the trunk and head. Some seats also have adjustable padding to help ensure a good fit.
- Adjustable seat length and back height help ensure a good fit, which supports good posture.
- A pommel helps guard against the child's legs coming together or crossing.
- Footrests can help some children maintain an upright posture by giving them something to push against.
- A tray allows the child to support themselves with their forearms.
You can also get specialist child car seats that swivel or slide out to help with getting in and out.
A range of accessories is available, which includes spare cushions and covers, padded chest supports and headrest speakers.
Older children may be more comfortable on the adult car seat, as long as it gives them enough support and they can wear the seat belt safely. However, remember that children under 135cm tall (about 4' 5") must use an appropriate child car seat. If they need support to sit upright, there are a number of harnesses that attach to the seat. Always use the car seat belt too.
Specialist child harnesses
Specialist vehicles - WAVs
A wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) allows a wheelchair user to travel in their chair. This means they can get the benefit of their own supportive seating system, and that they don't have to transfer or be transferred into the car. It also eliminates the need for the carer to load the wheelchair into the vehicle.
Our research aims to help you choose the controls that will work best for you.
Last updated: June 2018
Safety: Some equipment will also be available second-hand. It is vital to check the history of any second-hand equipment to ensure no damage or previous involvement in a road traffic collision.