Car seat or harness for 11 year old autistic child

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We are looking to get a car seat or harness for our 11 year old autistic son. Hunter weighs almost 80 lbs., and he is about 4 feet 4 inches tall. He is nonverbal and functions at the level of a 2-3 year old in most respects (other than talking). He has been out of a car seat for quite some time. The reason we need a car seat now is because he is rather aggressive and his after-school caregiver is unwilling to take him on outings anymore due to his behavior. He has grabbed at her from the backseat and she is afraid he is going to cause her to have an accident. So what we want specifically is something that will hold him back against the seat. He does have long arms, so a 5-point harness is a must. I'm considering the Roosevelt ( He doesn't really need the head support that it offers, but I like the weight range (up to 115 lbs.--so he'll likely be able to use it well into his teenage years). Any other ideas/options out there? I'd like it to be something that can be transferred between cars, since he does have a few different caregivers as well as divorced parents (meaning lots of cars are transporting him!).


-Marcie in Ohio


New member
E-Z-On products makes vests that will hold up to 168 pounds. There are a variety of them, some adjustable, some not, some with front closure, some with back closure (so he can't escape, if he's prone to that). You would have to fit every vehicle with one of their special, heavy-duty tether anchors.

You can start taking a look at that while waiting for one of the special needs trained techs to chime in. They may have more ideas for you.


Thanks for the quick response. I looked into the vests, but the fact that all vehicles would need to be fitted with the anchors is a big turn-off, especially since caregivers come and go. We need something more portable.


New member
Either the Roosevelt or the EZ-ON vest would be ideal for his situation.

You mentioned that he has been out of a car seat for several years. I want to make sure that at the very least he is in a booster, as he is much, much, much too small to ride safely in the belt alone. If you choose not to reharness him after all, he MUST ride in a booster!


Another great thing about the Roosevelt is if you can't tether, just use long belt path. There is a little loops at the top of the car seat that loops over the shoulder belt, to create a tether, basically. It is easy to use and doesn't have to use a recline bar like the Regent.

I have a thread here about the install.


Senior Community Member
I don't think either is an obvious solution.

  • Making sure all care givers can install/use either the seat or vest correctly will be a challenge.
  • The Roosevelt is not exactly lightweight & portable.
  • I can see a child with autism not being cooperative when putting on the vest (sensory - personal space/physical contact).
  • In addition, it sounds like there's many times when several people transport him over the course of a day or two. I can envision the seat/vest not being available (oops, its in the other car. . .)

Have you investigated what might be behind the aggression? Is this something new or is it a bigger deal now that he's older/bigger? In my limited experience, aggression is usually 'sparked' by frustration, fear, or some other emotion.


New member
In addition to the advice you have already received, my thought would be seeing if you have paratransit available for his caregiver to use with him in the afternoons. Usually paratransit can provide door to door services for the disabled on public buses, where available.

Also, I agree with the PP's, if he is not in a booster seat he probably needs to at least be in that to be safe in your vehicle.

Good luck!
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