Question about a special needs child



I am a Physical Therapist and am trying to help a parent with carseat problems. The child has cerebral palsy as well as autistic like behaviors. He has broken several chest clips on standard carseats. He needs to be in a 5 pt harness and is over 40lbs. Any suggestions on what we could do to prevent him from breaking the clips? Are there any metal clips out there? Something we could attach to the clip? help?? I tried ordering a medical model carseat, but this was denied by insurance and I am not sure those clips are any better anyway. Any suggestions wouldbe greatly appreciated.
Thank You!!


CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member

We are just starting our Special Needs forum. I will try to get an answer for you as quickly as possible. In the mean time, you may find some general information at this link:

You can locate a certified technician with Special Needs training in your area with this database:

Finally, if there is a Children's Hospital in your area, they may have a special needs transportation program with loaner seats or someone trained in special needs restraint systems. Alternately, you can contact the Automotive Safety Program directly for advice:


New member
How physically affected is the child? Can he hold up his head and sit supported? If so, I'd try a vest, like the ride safer vest:

You really shouldn't add anything on to the seat. The clip is a pre-crash positioner and designed to break away in an accident (the straps alone hold the child in). So anything metal could injure the child.

Can he get the straps off once the clip is broken? If not, I'd see about just using it without the clip. I believe some manufacturers say it's ok but I'm not 100% sure on that. Maybe someone else knows more than me.


Senior Community Member
It might be necessary for him to have a harness vest that actually 'zips' up in the back so there are no buckles/chest clips to un-do. I would suggest contacting a special needs CPST in your area, and ask about an "E-Z On Zipper back vest." There are several different models/styles. This really will only work if the child is able to sit independently with good trunk and head control.
Here's the link to find a tech in your area:
Hope that helps!


Ambassador - CPS Technician
I agree that a vest type restraint might be best. You might want to check w/ EZ-on personally, since I believe some of their products can be used w/ boosters. If this child needs physical support, a vest restraint plus a booster might work well for him.

As for the chest clip issue, is he breaking the chest clip and then escaping the harness or just breaking them? I wonder if he would do better w/o a chest clip. You might call the manufacturer of his current seat, explain the issue, and ask if the seat has been tested to be safe w/o the chest clip. If just breaking it is the issue, this would solve it. Even if he's escaping, using the seat w/o the chest clip might still solve the problem, as you can tighten the harness a little more w/o the chest clip on the harness.

I encourage you to find someone near you who's experienced w/ getting insurance to pay for seats. I'm guessing you were denied due to the way the request was written. For example, many companies will approve a seat for positioning, but prettymuch none of them will approve a seat for any kind of "safety" reason.


New member
I would try a light weight zipper or buttoned shirt- whichever will be most difficult for him to remove. She would put him in the seat with the zipper unzipped or buttons undone, buckle him in as normal, and then zip/button over the chest clip. It might be an "out of sight, out of mind" issue.

Also, when he breaks the clip, what is she replacing them with? You can't just get any clip to replace it- she'll need to get the same clip that goes with the seat, probably from the manufacturer directly.


Senior Community Member
I 2nd/3rd the vest idea if the child doesn't need moderate trunk/head support.

E-Z Company -

EZ On is frequently used by school district buses. Might try contacting transportation to see if they have some you can see/try.

Just out of curiosity, how does the clip get broken?

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Latest member

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org! Nuna Baby is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2022 Carseat Media LLC