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Special Needs Car Seats, Pediatric Special Needs Car Seats

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Pediatric Special Needs Car Seats

Finding the right car seat for your child and how to use it correctly can be a daunting task, especially if your child has certain medical or behavioral conditions or disabilities. Although some conventional car seats can safely accommodate special needs, these kinds of issues may require the use of more specialized child safety restraints. Car seat restraint guidelines continue to evolve for children of all ages and sizes, with detailed instructions on the correct use of car seats, booster seats and safety belts. Because special needs car seats are distinctly designed to accommodate a wider range of pediatric special needs, it is recommended to choose one of these models over a more conventional selection. Rehabmart is delighted to offer a comprehensive array of superior quality pediatric special needs car seat selections from respected and well-known manufacturers like Convaid, Special Tomato, Thomashilfen, Snug Seat, Merritt Manufacturing and Columbia Medical.

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Top Seller #1
Tumble Forms II Carrie Seating System

Starting at: $963.08

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The Tumble Forms II Carrie Seating System can be used to solve positioning problems in everyday life, at home, at ...
Performance Health

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Top Seller #2
Special Needs Car Seat: Spirit 2400 APS Adjustable Positioning System

Starting at: $1,039.18

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  • Low profile side facilitate easy transfers
  • Supports 25 to 130 lbs. and up to 66" in height
Inspired by Drive

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Top Seller #3
Special Tomato Small MPS Car Seat System

Starting at: $1,226.72

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  • Outer shell provides a protective barrier and supports the cushions to maintain position.
  • Latex-free material is peel and tear resistant, with a surface that is impermeable to fluids.
Special Tomato

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Carrot 3 Special Needs Car Seat

Starting at: $1,928.70

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  • Adaptive positioning accommodates a range of user needs.
  • Versatile seat is ideal for both long and short trips, supporting users from 3 - 15.
Convaid

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Pilot Special Needs Booster Car Seat

Starting at: $544.50

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  • Hassle-free height and width adjustability
  • Four-point positioning harness contributes to torso support
R82

5 of 5 star customer rating

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Churchill Pediatric Positioning Car Booster Seat with Vehicle Restraint System

Starting at: $949.00

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  • Features foam padding for comfort
  • Provides safe and comfortable ride
Merritt Manufacturing

5 of 5 star customer rating

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Roosevelt Child Safety Car Seat

Starting at: $839.10

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  • Offers comfortable safety and support for car sides.
  • Wide range of options and accessories offer custom comfort and support.
Merritt Manufacturing

4.5 of 5 star customer rating

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Hope Infant Special Needs Car Seat Bed

Starting at: $1,220.80

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  • Provides slots for feeding medical tubes
  • Provides 5 different methods of restraint with 3 positions
Merritt Manufacturing

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9
Pediatric Standard Protection Safety Seat Buckle Guard

Starting at: $62.95

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  • Designed to prevent the occupant from releasing the buckle.
  • Prevents the accidental release of the buckle.
Merritt Manufacturing

5 of 5 star customer rating

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10
Churchill Booster Hip Inflection Pommel with Abductor Pommel

Starting at: $145.00

  • Provides exceptional positioning support.
  • Designed specifically for use with the Churchill Seat.
Merritt Manufacturing

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11
Recaro Monza Nova 2 Car Seat

Starting at: $1,412.53

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  • Ventilated foam reduces perspiration
  • Machine washable cover is easy to remove and care for
Thomashilfen North America

5 of 5 star customer rating

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12
Churchill Booster Car Seat Accessories

Starting at: $88.58

  • Designed to provide secure positioning and comfort.
  • Allows easy transfers on and off the seat with removable design.
Merritt Manufacturing

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Special Tomato Large MPS Car Seating System

Starting at: $1,472.39

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  • Outer shell supports cushions to maintain position.
  • Durable construction is peel and tear resistant, standing up to years of use.
Special Tomato

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14
Car Seat Extenders for Pediatric Special Needs Car Seats

Starting at: $105.00

  • Help accommodate a variety of user sizes.
  • Two seat extensions are available for easy use.
Merritt Manufacturing

5 of 5 star customer rating

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15
Contour Covers for Shoulder or Lap Belts

Starting at: $80.68

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  • Stops the straps from digging into sensitive skin
  • Made for seated individuals who use straps for positioning
Danmar

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16
Pediatric Lap Strap Seat Belt Cushion Cover

Starting at: $71.57

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  • Available in 2 sizes and 2 colors
  • Slit top provides room for a buckle
Danmar

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17
Soft-Touch Booster Car Seat?

Starting at: $724.68

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  • The booster seat has multiple buckles to ensure the child is comfortable and cannot leave the harness
  • Two size options for the right fit of your child and their continued growth
Special Tomato

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18
Defender Reha Special Needs Car Seat with 360 Degree Protection

Starting at: $760.75

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  • 360 degrees of full impact protection guarantees maximum safety.
  • Booster Mode and Harness Mode allow multiple options for different ages and abilities.
Thomashilfen North America

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19
Wallaroo Forward Facing Child Restraint Car Seat

Starting at: $895.50

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  • Included foam headrest for good neck and head posture
  • Features a 5-point restraint system that is fully padded and snug fitting
R82

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20
Spirit Plus Adjustable Positioning System APS Car Seat

Starting at: $2,572.81

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  • Includes optimal positioning support
  • Designed for easy in-and-out transfers
Inspired by Drive

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21
Accessories for Pediatric IPS Car Seats

Starting at: $59.64

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  • Designed to offer custom comfort and accommodations.
  • Range of options and accessories allow easy customization.
Inspired by Drive

5 of 5 star customer rating

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22
Heavy Duty Tether Anchor Kit for Roosevelt Child Safety Car Seat

Starting at: $35.00

  • Enables easy installation in older-model cars.
  • Only requires one anchor point even with heavier children.
Merritt Manufacturing

5 of 5 star customer rating

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23
EZ-Buckle Guard for Roosevelt Child Safety Car Seat

Starting at: $149.00

  • Designed specifically to be compatible with the Roosevelt Safety Car Seat.
  • Prevents accidental release of the buckle.
Merritt Manufacturing

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24
Attachment Bracket Kit for Churchill Booster Seats

Starting at: $85.00

  • Designed for use in vehicles that do not have LATCH.
  • Can only be installed on vehicles with an open crack between seat and backrest.
Merritt Manufacturing

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25
Booster Hip Inflection Elevating Wedge for Churchill Booster Seats

Starting at: $105.00

  • Designed to provide additional height and seat support.
  • Elevates the user's knees to provide improved stability.
Merritt Manufacturing

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26
Foam Abductor Stay-Put Abductor Pommel for the Roosevelt Car Seat

Starting at: $105.00

  • Securely fastens in place for maximum safety.
  • Provides strong and comfortable positioning support.
Merritt Manufacturing

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Chest Clip and Buckle Guards for the Roosevelt Special Needs Carseat

Starting at: $150.00

  • Soft, comfortable cover replaces the chest clip.
  • Escape-resistant design ensures children remain secure.
Merritt Manufacturing

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28
Extra Long Harness for Roosevelt Child Safety Car Seat

Starting at: $59.00

  • Accommodates users who require a longer harness.
  • One foot longer than the standard harness for ultimate accommodation.
Merritt Manufacturing

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29
Child Restraint Bunting for Hope Infant Special Needs Car Seat Bed

Starting at: $294.65

  • Two sizes easily accommodate a wide range of user needs.
  • Comes with additional cummerbund for added support.
Merritt Manufacturing

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30
Children's Scoliosis Kit for Roosevelt Child Safety Seat

Starting at: $87.63

  • Provide comfortable accommodation for children with scoliosis.
  • Lower belt adjustment comfortably holds the hips in position.
Merritt Manufacturing

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Page: 1 of 2 

How do I Choose the Right Car Seat for My Special Needs Child?

While all special needs car seats provide exceptional body support and help to promote proper seating positions, there are several different styles, sizes and configurations available to more fully suit the needs of your own special child. Many of the designs highlight accessories that will help you adapt the restraint to your child’s specific requirements, while others will ‘grow’ with your child, featuring adaptations that can be adjusted as your child grows larger, eliminating the need for numerous car seats through the early years.

Infants and children with special needs, including autism, spinal cord problems or cerebral palsy do require adaptive restraints so that they can stay safe while riding in cars, vans or buses. Children who exhibit certain kinds of behavior, such as a tendency to unbuckle a car seat’s safety harness straps and buckles will need a restraint that they cannot undo.

Here is a general overview of various medical and behavioral conditions that may warrant the use of a pediatric special needs car seat restraint system for infants and children: low birth weight/premature infants, spina bifida, respiratory complications, conditions that require an infant to lay flat, orthopedic conditions, developmental delays, low muscle tone, high muscle tone, casts (hip spica), halo traction, scoliosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, developmentally dislocated hip, achondroplasia, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular delays, hydrocephalus, spinal muscular atrophy, myeloemengocele, apnea, tracheostomy, Pierre Robin sequence, autism spectrum disorder, severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, gastroesophageal reflux, obesity and conditions that require feeding tubes.

Types of Pediatric Special Needs Car Seats and Restraint Systems

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Children are best protected in an automobile accident if they are seated facing the rear of the vehicle, so it is best to keep them in that riding position for as long as possible, even though current guidelines only advise this type of restraint until the child is around the age of two. Special needs car restraint seats that are rear-facing can often accommodate children up to 35-40 pounds, enabling parents to keep their children in this safest position. Smaller sized car seats highlight smaller internal dimensions to more appropriately fit premature infants, while some rear-facing seats offer adjustable head support systems to give infants adequate lateral support.

Convertible Car Seats

Convertible pediatric special needs car seats typically make great ‘grow-with-your-child’ adaptive vehicle transport seats. They are converted from an infant only seat to a toddler seat by making specific changes, always according to the manufacturer’s specific instructions to ensure safety and security is consistently maintained. Convertible car seats can help to keep your child riding rear-facing for as long as possible, as well. Newer, more innovative convertible car seat designs often allow children up to 40 pounds and 40 inches in length to continue to ride rear-facing. This is very beneficial for many children with special needs, as youngsters with poor upper body control and low muscle tone will be much better positioned and protected in the rear-facing restraint. When your child has outgrown the rear-facing specifications, the convertible car seat can be converted to a forward-facing design.

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Along with convertible special needs car seats, forward-facing seats are quickly increasing in availability, providing extended benefits of five-point harness protection for older/larger special needs children. With upper harness limits as high as 90 pounds, this style can give extra restraint protection for children with obesity, behavioral challenges and positional issues. The semi-reclined position in the forward-facing design may help many positioning challenges that occur with children that have poor neck and head control, or who have outgrown the limitations of rear-facing seating. Forward-facing seats that have shallow or low sides may be particularly beneficial to children in hip casts or long-leg broomstick casts. Additional padding and positional inserts can help make children with neuromuscular or bone dysplasia issues more comfortable as they attain better positioning.

Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seats

Suitable for children who are overweight, belt-positioning booster seats can also help children who are much smaller than their peers, such as children with achondroplasia. While they assist smaller children to see out the windows, which may lead to better behavioral control, booster seats with high backs additionally provide good lateral support for larger children who experience intermittent fluctuations with trunk, neck and head control. Comfort is also improved for larger children by giving them the ability to bend their knees and let their legs hang down. Booster car seats are generally best used by children with adequate trunk, neck and head control.

Car Beds

Specifically designed for infants who must travel lying down, the use of a car bed should always be made by your pediatrician, as this option is reserved for infants who demonstrate a medical necessity. There should always be a period of observation made once the baby is placed in the car bed, to ensure that this placement is not exacerbating any of the infant’s symptoms. Your pediatrician should also be involved in the decision to convert your infant’s vehicle riding to a semi-upright position, ensuring that he or she is ready to make this transition. Car beds are often used for infants who are in casts, or who have cardio-respiratory disorders, omphaloceles and other abdominal or midline chest defects and neuromuscular disorders.

Hip Cast Car Seats
As a highly specialized car seat, hip cast car seats such as the Hippo highlight a wedge that can be configured in various ways to better position your child. As a convertible car seat, this hip cast seat can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing. It is specifically designed to accommodate the special needs of children in hip casts.


Hulet Smith, OT
Rehabmart Co-Founder & CEO

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