Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Transporting children's equipment in the car

Wheelchair in a car bootIf you have to travel with bulky equipment because of your child's disability, you'll obviously need to be sure there's room in the car, and that the equipment can be stored securely and safely. Heavy and bulky equipment should not be transported in the passenger cabin unless it's secured to prevent it from moving around in an accident.

Equipment you may be transporting includes:

  • wheelchair/therapeutic seating
  • standing/lying frame
  • walking frame/cycle, etc
  • toilet /shower seat
  • medical equipment, including feeding pumps, suction machines, ventilators and oxygen cylinders

Mobility equipment

You can use a ramp, hoist or lift to help get a wheelchair or other mobility equipment into the car. Our guide to Getting a wheelchair into a car gives more information on the options that are available. If you're going to get a hoist or lift installed, you should speak to the installer before buying the car, if you can. They'll be able to tell you which cars the hoist can be fitted to.

You can check the boot sizes of cars using one of our Car search tools.

Medical equipment

Medical equipment - such as feeding pumps, ventilators attached to tracheostomies, and oxygen cylinders - needs to be transported carefully. You'll have to think about how you can transfer it into and out of the car, and how you can secure it while you're underway.

  • If necessary, feeding pumps can be temporarily disconnected while you transfer the child into and out of the car. They're also quite light, so they're not difficult to secure.
  • You may not be able to disconnect a ventilator even temporarily - you need to be able to put the child into their seat and stow the ventilator afterwards.
  • You may be able to wedge a ventilator into the footwell or under the seat. If not, it will have to be secured with a seat belt. An adaptation company may be able to fit a suitable strap.
  • Oxygen cylinders also need to be properly secured. The oxygen supplier will provide you with a warning sticker, which must be displayed on the outside of the car. You need to tell your insurance company.

Usually, you're only eligible for a blue badge from the age of three, but you can apply before then for a child who is dependent on medical equipment or who might need emergency medical treatment.

Last updated: December 2012

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