July 20, 2009

Transporting a child with special needs

Ninety-two percent of U.S. parents transporting special needs children do not secure medical equipment that could become projectiles, researchers said.

A survey, published in Pediatrics, found most of the 275 participants -- 82 percent -- had secured their children who had special needs in car seats appropriate for their size, weight and condition. However, the researchers found the majority also had at least one misuse -- such as installing the seat in the vehicle's front seat rather than rear seat -- and 20 percent of the children would have benefited from additional body-positioning support.

Like all kids, children with special needs have medical and dental appointments and many other reasons to go out into the community, so mobility is important, lead author Dr. Joseph O'Neil of the Indiana University School of Medicine and a Riley Hospital pediatrician said in a statement. But it's essential that they get there safely.

The researchers found such misuses as installation of the car seat in the wrong part of the car and utilization of front facing seats when weight and height dictated that the child should have faced to the rear.