Children have the right to travel in a safe manner in vehicles and parents or guardians are required to comply with the rules in the General Regulations for Drivers that regulates it. In order for this to be possible, there is a wide variety of child seats on the market designed based on the minor's weight. But what happens when the child has behavior problems or a lack of control in their torso?
For these cases, other systems are needed that guarantee adequate protection, such as, for example, safety vests, specially designed as an alternative for children older than two years of age. What are they like and which children can use them?
When the child is traveling seated
On the market, there are child seats for cars with a specific design for children with special needs or premature babies who are born with low weight. But as the child grows, other needs may arise. So they can be children with behavior problems who need additional restraint to guarantee their safety and that of the other occupants in the car or minors who don't control their torsos and who require greater care.
For these cases, it is possible to use safety vests. They are harnesses in the shape of a vest composed of several horizontal and vertical belts that are then fastened to the vehicle with other additional belts and that make it possible for the child to use the vehicle's own safety belt. They are specially designed for children older than two years of age.
There are different types of vests for children who travel seated. It all depends on the manufacturer and model. They can have a front or rear opening, shoulder adjustable belts, an additional belt between the legs, they can have velcro fasteners... What is important is that the vehicle should have a safety belt, and furthermore, it must be taken into consideration that sometimes it may be necessary to install additional restraining belts.
Some of these vests are specially designed for children who travel seated in a bus. If a school transportation company needed to use these vests, it is recommended to call the company that manufacturers the vests first to find out the requirements for installing them in the bus.
Which children can use them?
Vests for children who travel lying flat
Manufacturers think of all cases and as there are children who, due to special needs, have to travel lying flat in the back seat, they have also developed modified vests for them.
Unlike the safety vests for children who travel seated, these modified vests consist of a harness with several horizontal and vertical belts that are fastened to the vehicle using two of the back seat's safety belts.
Currently, there is only one vest of this type for children older than two years of age who must travel lying flat. It is the E-Z-On vest, manufactured by the U.S. company E-Z-On Products and approved in the United States in accordance with the FMVSS 213 child restraint regulation.
This vest is designed for children older than two years with behavior problems or lack of control of their torso who have to travel lying flat in the car. But it is also an alternative to keep in mind for children with a cast on their hip who don't fit in special seats designed for them (their use is usually limited to a weight of 29 kilos [64 pounds] including the cast).
Which children can use them?
Children between the ages of 2 and 12 years of age can use it, who weigh between 9 and 45 kilos (20 and 99 pounds) and who have a hip diameter of between 56 and 81 centimeters (22 and 32 inches). For the vest to be effective, the child must fit lying flat in the rear seat of the vehicle and use the safety belts for its correct installation.
In the United States, it is permissible to place cushion items on the vehicle's floor area located in front of the child, and some type of cushion can also be used under the head and between the head or feet and the sides of the vehicle. Another recommendation to follow is to place the child's head as far away as possible from the side of the vehicle.