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Adaptive car seat evaluations

Car seat evaluations: Ensure that your child is using the safest seat

The proper safety seat can protect a child’s life. The best safety seat is one that fits the child and vehicle and can be used correctly on every ride.

Additional considerations and accommodations may be needed for children with special behavioral or medical needs. An evaluation with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician who has additional training can help ensure that your child is using the safest seat.

Find a location near you for an evaluation

Why do I need a car seat evaluation with a certified child passenger safety technician?

special needs car seat

A trained specialist can help:

  • Assess which car seat type/sitting position is safest for the child’s size, behavior and level of function
  • Determine whether an adaptive safety seat is needed or a standard car seat can be used
  • Assess the direction a child should face based on size and strength/motor control
  • Work with the family and equipment vendor to make decisions about what car seat and accessories are most appropriate
  • Advise on best placement of the infant's seat in the vehicle
  • Determine proper installation according to the car seat manufacturer, vehicle manual and needs of the child and family
  • Demonstrate and provide coaching on proper installation of and adjustment to the car seat
  • Take into consideration the caregivers’ ability to transfer the child in and out of the seat
  • Inform families of state programs for procuring standard seats if the family qualifies
  • Write letters of justification to insurance companies and make appeals for denied child seats

Does my child need an adaptive car seat?

Children who typically need a special car seat have low or fluctuating tone associated with:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Spina bifida
  • Obesity
  • Chromosomal anomalies or other conditions 

To ensure the ongoing safety of children with special needs, adaptive car seats may be a better option than conventional car seats.

Children may benefit from a special needs car seat such as:

  • An adaptive forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness and longer seat depth. These seats hold children of higher heights and weights than standard car seats on the market.
  • An adaptive booster seat for children who need less support than a five-point harness car seat. Children who exceed the weight limits that an adaptive forward-facing car seat can hold. Children up to 175 pounds can use adaptive booster seats.
  • Adaptive positioning devices to direct the seat belt across the shoulder. These devices fit children who outgrow booster seats but still need more support than a seat belt alone can provide.

Children with autism or who have escaping behaviors and can unbuckle themselves may benefit from:

  • A vest with a zipper in the back
  • A seat with locking devices added to the chest harness, lap belt and seat belt

The Ultimate Car Seat Guide from Safe Kids

Rear Facing Child Seat

Safe Kids created The Ultimate Car Seat Guide, which is a go-to resource for personalized car seat safety tips based on your child’s age, height and weight. Check it out and learn what type of car seat is best for your child and tips on how to properly install and fit the car seat. The guide is also available en Espanol!

Check it out: You can get your child’s car seat inspected by a certified technician. Contact your local Virginia Safe Kids Coalition to find out how. The federal government also has a feature to find car seat technicians.

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