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Seat Belts and SPD

Sensory Yoga for Kids
autism high school
Seat belts and Sensory Processing Disorder

My seat belt is squeezing me! 

I feel car sick!

How to keep your kids comfortable and safe.

You probably haven’t spent too much time thinking about your car’s seat belts, that is, until you have a child with SPD and seat belts may become an issue. In fact, if you have a child or loved one with special needs, seat belts can become not only about safety, but their comfort (and your sanity).

It’s the usual SPD concerns: seat belts are either too tight, or hit in an awkward spot, or maybe if you have a newer car and they’re not tight enough!

Like everything else, seat belts continue to evolve.  My current seat belt drama, having SPD,  is that I rely on my seat belt to lock in place and keep me feeling grounded. I drove around town with my seat belt keeping me snug. BUT now, my new car’s seat belts don’t do this. Instead they continue to stretch and give me lots of wiggle room, which is probably considered a luxury, yet I hate it!

I want to feel secure in my seat and not like I’m floating, so this is a major adjustment.

How can you help your loved one with seat belts and SPD be both comfortable and safe?

Always read your car manual to see if there is any adjusting you can do yourself. If you’re unsure about your child’s car seats or boosters, many fire stations will check to make sure they’re installed properly or give your seat belts a once over. It’s better to error on the side of caution and be safe!

Seat belt too tight! too loose! or too big!

There are cushions you can strap on your seat belt so that your child has something soft pressing against them. These are great for their necks if they want to sleep, or you can place them lower to keep their chest from feeling pressure.

Valuetom® Kids Headrest Neck Support Traveling Nap Pillow Shoulder Pad For Car Seat Belts (Gray)

Show your child how the seat belts lock if they jolt forward to grab at toy, and help them keep their seat belt from tightening on them. Also, let them know how to release the lock if they find the seat belt is too tight.

Whether the seat belt is too tight, too loose, or too big, there are harness re-positioners that make it easy to adjust the seat belt to your child’s comfort and safety!

Car Child Safety Cover Pink Color Harness Repositions Strap Adjuster Mash Pad Kids Seat Belt Seatbelt Clip Booster Adult Children Seat Belt Clips Kids Seat Belt Pad, Kids Seatbelt Cover - Blue

Try a harness seat belt:

If your child has special needs, or really can’t handle the seat belt, you can try a harness seat belt. These can get pretty pricey, but it’s worth the investment if necessary. Some come with booster seats attached and others are stand alone harnesses. They may also be used on buses – so make sure to check the manufacture’s instructions for usage.

Safe Traffic System Travel Vest Type 2 Booster Seat, Pink, Small Large RideSafer Travel Vest Deluxe - wearable car seat / booster (50 to 80 lbs. approx 5 to 8 years, Blue)E-Z-On Adjustable Vest Size: M Waist Size: 32

Child unfastens seat belt:

The most important thing is to keep them buckled. Do you have a Houdini that will get out of his seat? Or a princess that won’t stay in her seat no matter what? Perhaps you can try the Angel Guard Seat Belt Cover to keep them IN their seat while you’re driving. They have easy, emergency removal, but make sure to practice before hand for your safety. AND always follows manufacturer’s instructions.

Angel Guard Car Seat Button Cover, 4 Pack

Just maybe if you’ve got a kiddo that doesn’t like the car, the seat belt could be an issue and they haven’t been able to articulate this.  Be a sensory detective parent and ask your child how their seat belt feels. You may be pleasantly surprised that some minor adjustments can make a big difference.

Always Remember:

If your child has SPD, the sun hitting them in the car can be draining. Are they sensitive to the air conditioning? Is the music too loud? Do they get carsick regularly? Be aware of all the elements both inside and outside the car that may be making them uncomfortable as well.

Happy Driving, Jackie