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New research uncovers stark challenges for parents

New research published

New research conducted by Curtin University highlights the experiences of Australian parents when transporting their children with disabilities and medical conditions in motor vehicles. This research was funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and initiated by MACA.

Safe transport of children with disabilities and medical conditions: caregiver experiences was published in the Scandinavian Occupational Therapy Journal on 18 May 2023.

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Key findings

The research, representing the largest study of its kind, involved a national survey of 193 parents. Key findings included:

  • Nearly half of parents believed their child was missing out on participating in everyday life due to their transport arrangements (49%).
  • Many parents reported that their child had gotten out of their child restraint (45%) or their seatbelt (36%) while they were driving.
  • More than two-thirds of parents (70%) reported never receiving information on safely transporting their child.
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Complex family challenges

MACA Chief Executive, Helen Lindner, said the research revealed stark challenges relating to the transport of children with disabilities and medical conditions in motor vehicles.

“This research sheds light on confronting truths and the complex challenges faced by families,” she said.

“Children with disabilities and medical conditions have the right to access transportation and the broader community on an equal basis to others – but that is clearly not the reality for many Australian children."

“This research helps us understand families’ lived experience of transport."

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MACA's role

MACA’s research and work aims to improve policy, legislation, and access to independent information to support the safe transport of children with disabilities and medical conditions.

“We have introduced a world leading product safety assessment program, a website for families and allied health professionals, and training programs,” Helen said.

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