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Harnesses and vests

Harnesses and vests are sometimes prescribed for children with disabilities and medical conditions

Introduction

Harnesses and vests (not part of the child restraint) have been designed in response to a range of needs for children with disabilities and medical conditions travelling in motor vehicles. They may help with:

  • postural support
  • reducing the risk of children getting out of their vehicle restraint
  • medical transport
  • bus transport

There is limited research to guide safe and appropriate use of harnesses and vests and different approaches relating to use.

Harnesses and vests must always be used with the vehicle seatbelt. Some products require the vehicle seatbelt to be “converted” into a lap-style seatbelt.

Research in Australia

Findings from our national survey has identified that harnesses and vests are one of the most prescribed products for transporting children with disabilities and behaviours of concern, despite the lack of research in this area.

There is a clear need to understand how harnesses and vests are used by caregivers, including understanding their experiences getting, fitting, and using them in different vehicle types.

To address this gap, MACA and Curtin University are seeking funding for a research project investigating harness and vest use in Australia. This research will enable MACA to include harnesses and vests in the Australian Safety Assessment Program, informing best practice prescribing and use. This is expected to take place in 2022.

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FAQs

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