Tips on Choosing an Accessible Van for Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs often need to use wheelchairs for mobility. Vehicles with special features are available or vans can be converted to accommodate them. The most important step is to start with an appointment with a mobility specialist.

Since your child’s safety should be ensured at all times, your dealer should be a member of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) and accredited by the Quality Assurance Program.

What the mobility expert will need to know:

  • The number of people and pets in your family, as well as the amount of luggage or equipment will help determine the size of the vehicle needed.
  • How tall is your child? The mobility expert factors this in when recommending which van or vehicle is best.
  • Is the wheelchair headrest adjustable, retractable or flexible? This tells how the wheelchair should be positioned in the vehicle.
  • How big is the wheelchair? Too wide or too long and you lose part of all of the 2nd row seating or prevent maneuverability inside the van.
  • Does the child need a caregiver to sit next to him or need to be close to the driver? If so, a rear-entry van should be considered.
  • How old is the child? Due to the impact of a deploying air bag, the rear positions are the safest place for children under the age of 12.
  • Does your child get too hot in the sun or are your child’s eyes light-sensitive? The vehicle may need a darker window tint.

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is an expert in mobility equipment and accessibility!

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