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Old 03-08-2014, 04:08 PM
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CTDon CTDon is offline
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Default Transporting Children with Special Healthcare Needs

As you may (or may not know) I'm a Child Passenger Safety technician...which means I help and educate people in making sure their car seats are installed correctly in their car. I ensure they have the right seat for the right child in the right car. This certification class covers "conventional" car seats.

Well, earlier this week I flew to Indianapolis to take a class on transporting children with special healthcare needs. In fact the official title of the course is "Safe Travel for All Children: Transporting Children with Special Healthcare Needs."

What an eyeopener! Sadly, it is one of those things that the majority of people just don't think about and don't realize that there is a sizable population of people (including children) that need special consideration when it comes to safe transportation.

The "special healthcare needs" umbrella covers a wide variety of children: "those who have or at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and who require health and services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally." (Merle McPherson, MD; Pediatrics, July 1998).

It also covers those children who require special consideration due to a temporary condition, such as long casts, full body casts, head traction (the 'Halo'), etc.

The class covered the types of needs of some of these kids, how they may be able to to be helped in a conventional car seat, and if not what else is out there. Much like the original Child Passenger Safety technician class, it's lot of problem solving: on how to select the proper system for the child and to make sure it's installed correctly in the vehicle.

The class focused on passenger vehicles, but it touched on wheelchairs in vans. Safe travel in buses is a whole different class and so is safe transportation in an ambulance. Being both an EMT and a CPS tech, I'm eligible to become an instructor for safe travel in ambulances, so I'm going to get going on that. This way, I can help educate area fire departments/ambulance services on safe transportation methods.

Another interesting & eyeopening aspect of the class is how much insurance and what not plays into obtaining a special needs car seat/restraint system. They can cost thousands of dollars and can take up to 6 months for approval & delivery.

The class ended with an appointment with a real family who had transportation issues they wanted to get resolved. They had consented ahead of time to do this in front of our class. The instructors had spoken with the family over the phone before, but had never met with them in person. So we got to see the intake interview and fitting of a system that might be best for that particular child. It was really, really interesting to see and we were truly grateful to see it in 'action' vs us just simulating with life sized dolls.

I encourage anyone to take the CPS technician class and get certified. It underscores the reason why most of us are SAHDs. We love our children and want to keep them safe. You can apply that same sentiment to all the other children in your community, as no one wants to see any kids get hurt and we have the ability to educate people and help them keep their children safer.

Below are some links that people interested in children and vehicle safety may find useful. It's not all inclusive, but is should cover a lot of topics.

Child Passenger Safety certification (or to find people who are certified):

Automotive Safety Program: Provides education, training and resources on child passenger safety and transporting children with special healthcare needs). AKA National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children with Special Healthcare Needs:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): The federal agency that sets national standards for occupant protection:

Pupil Transportation Safety Institute: Provides school bus safety information, resources and training:

Safe Kids Worldwide: Dedicated to preventing unintentional injuries to children ages birth to 14. Sponsors state and local child injury prevention programs and develops safety campaigns and materials:

Ridesafe: Wheelchair Safety in Vans and Buses

Safe Ride News: publishes good info, but also has an updated (2013) edition of their "School Bus Safety Handbook: Choosing and Using Child Safety Restraint Systems". ;
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:45 PM
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Good stuff Don, should be a stickied thread.

Thanks for putting it together
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