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Medical needs of children in the car

General and specific medical issues

Medical issues that can affect a child's safety or comfort in the car include the following:


If your child has frequent seizures, you may want them in the front so that you can get to them in a hurry. If you need to administer medication to control a seizure, plan ahead: make sure you know where it is, and that you can reach and administer it comfortably and safely in the car.

Reflux and/or choking

If your child experiences frequent episodes of reflux and/or choking, you may want to have them in the front.


Splinting after orthopaedic surgery can make it difficult for a child to travel in a car seat, especially if they have a hip spica cast. The charity Steps has a useful parent's guide to caring for a child with one of these casts, which includes a section on car travel (you can find the publication on Steps Downloads page). If you see a nurse specialist before leaving the hospital, they may have useful advice too.


If your child is incontinent, their pad may be more likely to leak in the car, especially on long journeys. Many child seats have removable covers, so they can be washed if necessary - some even come with spare covers. You can get protective covers that go on top of a child car seat, and you can put a protective pad under the seat to protect the car's upholstery. 

Tips for dealing with medical issues

Your journey may take longer than expected, so plan ahead:

  • Carry an emergency medical kit in the car, with any equipment or medications you may need in an emergency.
  • If your child is tube fed, make sure you have plenty of feed.
  • Make sure any device batteries are fully charged.
The Research Institute for Disabled Consumersis the UK’s leading expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. We have over 50 years’ experience of independent, specialist research. This information is unbiased and we hope it will help you choose the right option to meet your needs. We don't sell products.

Last updated: August 2018

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