• About Us

    Appropriate use of a child restraint significantly reduces the risk of injury to a child in the event of a car crash. However, some parents and carers of children with a disability may find it challenging to obtain a child restraint that meets their child’s special needs.

    This site aims to assist parents and carers:

    • understand and manage their obligations to ensure they use legal and safe child restrains when transporting their child
    • find an occupational therapist skilled at identifying a suitable mainstream child restraint or modifying their current restraint or prescribing a special purpose child restraint
    • explore options for government assistance in purchasing a specialist child restraint
    • locate a supplier of specialist child restraints.

    TOCAN has developed this resource because of its firm belief that all children should be able to travel safely, comfortably and legally.

    This site will also help occupational therapists and other health practitioners stay up-to-date on the availability of child restraints that meet the relevant Australian/New Zealand Standard and the process of assessing children, and prescribing modified or specialised child restraints. These presentations aim to clear up some common questions surrounding these issues and help those involved make clearer more confident decisions in cases surrounding the transportation of children and youth with additional needs.

    TOCAN Programme Presentations

    Why we established TOCAN

    Research shows children with disabilities have a greater risk of injury or fatality as a result of a vehicle collision than other children*.

    Concern about the lack of knowledge and expertise around supporting the travel needs of children with a disability or medical condition led The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Safety Centre to establish the Victorian Transportation of Children and Youth with Additional Needs Partnership (TOCAN) in 2009.

    TOCAN operates with an ethos of research, advocacy and collaboration and its partnership of key stakeholders in government, the health sector, road safety organisations and industry has enabled it to achieve remarkable success in a short period of time.

    The partnership instigated and led the review of the Australian/New Zealand Standard for the restraint of children with disabilities, or medical conditions, in motor vehicles (AS/NZS 4370; 2013). This standard now gives greater consideration to children with complex and challenging behaviours and includes a new comprehensive assessment guide for prescribers. The standard also includes a sample proforma to assist allied health professionals to prescribe the most suitable car restraint for a child with a disability or medical condition.

    TOCAN’s research has resulted in improved standards and knowledge of special purpose child restraints that have been crash tested to ensure their suitability and safety for children with additional needs. 

    With the development of this website, TOCAN is also addressing a need expressed by occupational therapists for an online resource that could assist them to increase their knowledge and skills in this area.

    The TOCAN partnership thanks the Transport Accident Commission for its financial support, which has made this site possible.

    TAC logo

    The partnership

    In addition to representatives from the RCH Safety Centre, the TOCAN partnership includes the RCH Occupational Therapy Department, The Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service, the School of Occupational Therapy at La Trobe University, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, VicRoads, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Britax Childcare, the Australian Child Restraint Resource Initiative, Autism Victoria, the Early Learning Association Australia and the Association for Children with a Disability.

    In 2011, TOCAN was the recipient of the National Kidsafe Day Award and, in 2012, the partnership won the Australasian College of Road Safety's prestigious 3M-ACRS Diamond Road Safety Award for its efforts to increase the awareness of government, industry and the medical fraternity about the issues surrounding the transport of children with a disability or medical condition.

    TOCAN will continue to play an active role in advocating for the transport needs of children with a disability or medical condition and to be a well-used expert resource for others in the community road safety space throughout Australia.

    Click here for more details on our partners.

    *  Source: Falkmer, T., & Gregersen, N. (2002). Perceived risk among parents concerning the travel situation for children with disabilities, Accident  Analysis and prevention 34, 553-562