Autism, Car Seats and Crelling Harnesses

With autism you have to learn to live with the fact that a persons chronological age may not match their developmental age. I find it best to deal with this by not remembering Ethan’s physical age until his birthday.

Unfortunately with getting older you grow and the baby items that you have used to keep your little one safe no longer do.

The car seat hasn’t been the first thing that we have had work out but it has been the one that has caused us the most concern. Ethan needs to be safe in the car, not for him but for all of us.

Ethan is now on his third car seat, last year we had to purchase a stage 3 seat. Knowing that Ethan was nowhere near losing the five point harness we decided on buying a Graco. The five point harness had more room to grow than his previous car seat.

It has been perfect for the past year but we have been conscious of his weight, and we knew he was getting to big for the harness. So last weekend we took the plunge and removed the harness ready to just use the car seat with the normal car seat belt.

I think we knew deep down that Ethan wasn’t mentally ready for this change. I think we clung to the hope that he would prove us wrong and the change wouldn’t cause us any problems. We were wrong.

Ethan loved having the restrictive five point harness removed, he could stand in his chair to look out the window. He could reach other to his sister to wake her up. I’m sure given half the chance he would have had a go at driving the car!

This of course isn’t safe and we had to find something that would keep him in one place. Safe and secure in his car seat.

When we went to the Autism Show two years ago we were given a Crelling Harnesses leaflet. Knowing that one day we would need it, kept it in a safe place. I called them and they suggested a Model 28 Steel.

So there I was on Sunday fighting with the harness installation. No easy task, at one point I scared our neighbour as I was in the boot of our car!

I won the battle and the harness is now fully fitted into the car.

Crelling Harnesses Crelling Harnesses

The harness fits over the normal seat but can then wrap around Ethan’s car seat.


We still have a few adjustments to make but so far so good. It is keeping Ethan safe in the car and that is what we needed it to do.

6 thoughts on “Autism, Car Seats and Crelling Harnesses”

  1. This is something I have never thought about. What a great solution! With things like that I don’t mind much if they’re a bit of a pain to fit as you don’t have to keep taking them out and putting them back – once it’s in, it’s done. Great idea! x

  2. Oh I wish id known about these harnesses when we moved Bruiser up to his booster seat last year. We did it the hard way stopping the car every 20 feet to get him back in his seat or refasten his seat belt. It was painstakingly hard work. We have got there now thankfully but we ALL had to change our car seat behaviours to get Bruiser to understand and follow our leads (with a few social stories thrown in about iggle piggle getting hurt in a little accident).

    1. Jane - Our Little Escapades

      I think you did a fantastic job to teach him this way. We normally do longish journeys and it would have been a complete nightmare. I also don’t think Ethan’s level of understanding would have been able to handle it x

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