Special Needs Child Passenger Safety Program

infants under two years old

Thanks in part to philanthropic support, CHKD offers a child passenger safety program for children with special healthcare needs. The only one of its kind in Hampton Roads, this special program provides evaluations and loaner car seats to children with a variety of medical conditions that prevent them from using standard car seats.

Many different types of car seats and restraints are available for evaluation and fitting, and possibly for lending to infants, toddlers, and older children through the hospital’s Therapy Services department. Specially trained physical and occupational therapists evaluate each patient and determine the appropriate seating solution that will work for the child, the caregivers, and the family vehicle.

Some common medical conditions served by this program are:

  • Prematurity, low birth weight
  • Orthopedic conditions, casts (including hip spica casts)
  • Cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders
  • Autism and related disorders
  • Down’s Syndrome

Children who weigh 40-pounds or more

This program stocks a large variety of standard car seats with features that work well for children with special needs, as well as many specialized restraints specifically made for children with unique positioning needs. These include but are not limited to:

  • Infant seats with small harness dimensions for smaller infants.
  • Car beds (Angel Ride, Dream Ride, and Hope) for babies who need to lie down or are too small for a standard infant seat.
  • Hippo by Snug Seat and lie down vests for children in hip spica casts.
  • A variety of larger medical seats and special needs booster seats including the Merritt Manufacturing Roosevelt and Churchill, Snug Seat Traveler Plus and Pilot booster, Carrie, Recaro, and Columbia products – For older children and young adults who need more head and trunk support or who have significant scoliosis.
  • Large convertible car seats that allow rear facing and reclined position for higher weights for those who need more head and neck support and a recline but who have outgrown their infant seats.
  • Vest restraints – in a variety of styles for children with behavioral difficulties who are difficult to keep in car seats, those who need a little extra trunk support, and older children who need to lay down because of a medical condition or cast.
Older Toddlers

Car seat evaluations are available for children who need short or long term travel solutions. Evaluations are available on an inpatient basis with a doctor’s order. Outpatient evaluations require a prescription from the doctor and will be authorized through the patient’s insurance. Those who are denied by their insurance will not be turned away. The evaluating therapist will work with the family, provide a loaner restraint if appropriate, and complete paperwork to request a permanent seat through insurance if needed.

Therapists who perform these evaluations and who may assist with installation of these car seats are Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who have received further training in transporting children with special healthcare needs.

A select group of Emergency Department staff at CHKD have also been trained in order to provide restraints only to children in casts on nights and weekends in their department.

Please call (757) 668-8655 for more information.