Car seats and harnesses for disabled children

Good postural support is important for many physically disabled children.

For some babies and small children, standard child car seats provide enough postural support.

Some children will need more specialised seating.child car seat

  • A seat that can be tilted backwards - especially if it has a good head support - can help maintain an upright posture.
  • Side prompts give extra support to the trunk and head. Some seats also have adjustable padding to help ensure a good fit.
  • Adjustable seat length and back height help ensure a good fit, which supports better posture.
  • A pommel helps stop the child's legs coming together or crossing.
  • Footrests can help some children stay upright by giving them something to push against.
  • A tray allows the child to support themselves with their forearms.

Get advice from your occupational therapist or from your local mobility centre.

Specialised car seats

You can also get specialised child car seats that swivel or slide out to help with getting in and out.

To help you choose which car seat is right for your child, we've compiled a table showing different makes, including features, prices and suppliers.

Safety: child car seats

A range of accessories is available, including spare cushions and covers, padded chest supports and headrest speakers.

Older children may be more comfortable on an adult car seat, as long as it gives them enough support and they can wear the seat belt safely.

Remember that children under 135cm tall (about 4' 5") must use an appropriate child car seat.

If your child needs support to sit upright, there are a number of harnesses that attach to the seat. Always use the car seat belt too.

Specialised child harnesses

To help you choose which harness is right for your child, we've compiled a table showing different makes, including features, prices and suppliers.

Safety: child car seats

If you're buying second-hand, it's vital to check the history of any equipment to ensure there's been no damage or previous involvement in a road traffic collision.

Everybody in the car needs to be seated comfortably and securely.
In the case of children younger than 12 or under 135cm tall (about 4' 5"), this means they must have a suitable child seat. Children need different seats, depending on what they weigh:

  • babies up to 13kg (about 2 stone): Group 0 and Group 0+ backward-facing seats
  • babies and children between 9 and 18kg (1.5 to 3 stone): Group I forward- or backward-facing seats
  • children from 15 to 25kg (2.5 to 4 stone): Group II forward-facing car seats (booster seats)
  • children above 22kg (3.5 stone): Group III booster cushions

Group 0 and Group I seats are attached to the car seat using the existing seat belt or using the Isofix system. Isofix seats are easier to put into the car because they just clip into anchor points mounted in the car. All new cars have Isofix anchor points.

Not all older cars have Isofix anchor points - double check this before you get the seat.

Child seats must also conform to the United Nations standard (ECE Regulation 44.04). Look for the 'E' mark label on the seat.

Alternatively, the child seat may conform to the EU ‘i-size’ safety regulations for child car seats (ECE R129), introduced in July 2013 to make child car seats easier to fit, provide better protection from side impacts and keep children rearward-facing for longer. ‘i-size’ regulations only apply to Isofix seats.

Backward-facing seats must not be used in a seat that has an airbag.

If you want to use one of these seats in the front of the car, check that the airbag can be switched off. If you have smaller children in forward-facing seats, you'll also need to switch off the airbag.

Which? has some useful child car seat safety checks.

Specialised vehicles - WAVs

A wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) allows your child to stay in his or her wheelchair.. This means they can get the benefit of their own supportive seating system.

When you use a WAV there is no need to transfer or for the parent or carer to load the wheelchair into the vehicle.

More information

Find your nearest mobility centre for advice and assessment

Which? child car seat safety checks.

For finance:

Disability Grants


Exhibition to visit:

Kidz Exhibition - free one-stop shop for advice and information

For tailored-made equipment for your child: