Special Needs Car Seat SharonUniversity of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital wants to make sure that every child, every time is safe and secure in a moving vehicle. Some children with certain medical procedures or health care needs require special restraints to ensure their safety and protection. Review the list of medical conditions that may require the use of a special car seat.

A standard child safety seat will meet the safety and positioning needs of some children with special health care needs, but other times, an adaptive or specialized restraint is necessary. Typically, specialized safety restraints are not available through retail stores. Review more information about types of specialized restraints.

The Special Needs Car Seat Clinic at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is the first and only clinic in Eastern Iowa focused on travel safety for children with unique needs.

What to expect

A physical or occupational therapist will evaluate your child in collaboration with our certified child passenger safety technician. If your child has unique needs and a special car seat is recommended, we will assist you with that process.


A referral from your child's doctor is required before an appointment can be scheduled.

  1. Ask your child's doctor for a physical therapy/occupational therapy evaluation for a special needs car seat.
  2. Your doctor should fax this referral to 319-356-7700.
  3. Once your doctor has made a referral, you can schedule an appointment for your child by calling 319-353-6900 or 1-877-686-0031 (toll free) or emailing cdd-scheduling@uiowa.edu.

The following adaptive car seats are available for demonstration through the special needs car seat clinic:

Care Team

Kristel Portrait Kristel Wetjen, RN, BSN
Pediatric Trauma Coordinator