- Child Safety Seats
- Wheelchair / Automobile Transport
- Adapted Motor Vehicles
- Adaptive Driving
- Public Transportation Services
- Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
- Non-Emergency Medical Transportation for Medicaid Beneficiaries
- Train Travel (or rail service)
- Air Travel
- Flying with Children with Disabilities
- Boarding and Flying
- Find a car seat safety check site or certified technician near you by calling your local hospital or health department (See Resources at the bottom of the page for further information.)
- Speak with the Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician about their recommendations for your child's safety.
- If your child has a physical therapist, ask for a recommendation about a seat.
- Ask other parents what their child is using and what they did to get it.
- Contact your child's primary care clinician and ask for a letter of medical necessity for the insurance company or Medicaid.
- Submit a written request to insurance. If insurance denies the seat, you can appeal the decision. If still denied, look for alternatives resources.
- Are there programs in your area that donate or have low-cost seats? (Try your Children's Hospital or Health Department)
- Are there any organizations in your area that donate or help with funding? (Independent Living Centers, Lion's Club, special needs organizations)
- wheelchair lifts and ramps
- hand controls
- modified seating
- steering aids
Before You Go
- Be sure to call your airline carrier at least 72 hours ahead of time and inform them of your child’s special needs. Doing so will allow for safe and happy travel onboard the aircraft.
- Provide advance notice to your airline or travel agent if you require assistance at the airport. Your airline will assist you through the airport facility and the screening line.
- If you require a companion or assistant to accompany you through the security checkpoint to reach your gate, speak with your airline representative about obtaining a gate pass for your companion before entering the security checkpoint.
- The limit of one carry-on and one personal item (purse, briefcase or computer case) does not apply to medical supplies, equipment and mobility aids, and/or assistive devices carried by and/or used by a person with a disability.
- Pack your medications in a separate pouch/bag to facilitate the inspection process. Ensure that containers holding medications are not too densely filled, and that all medication is clearly identified. It is recommended that passengers refrain from packing any medications that they do not want exposed to X-rays in their checked baggage. Instead, send larger quantities of medication to your destination by mail or another preferred way.
- Make sure each of your carry-on items, equipment, mobility aids, and devices, have an identification tag attached.
- Inform screening officials of your child's disability and what he is able or not able to do during screening.
- Carry documentation to support any medical or behavioral conditions, and offer suggestions to security staff on how to minimize issues during the screening process.
- Security officers should never remove your child from his wheelchair. Only parents are allowed to transfer their child, and you can refuse if it is not in your child's best interest. You can ask the security officers to use alternate screening measures while your child remains seated in her wheelchair.
- If your child is able to stand and walk, have him walk through the metal detector, as it can make the process much faster.
- Officers in the United States are not required to pat down minors with disabilities; however, other countries may have different regulations. In both the US and Canada, officers will visually or physically inspect and test any seat cushions, pouches, and packs attached to the chair.
- In regards to taking pictures and filming, the TSA allows you to do so as long as it doesn’t interfere with the screening process. That being said, some laws, state statutes, or local ordinances may prohibit taking pictures or filming.
- Most importantly, know you have the right to be with your child throughout the entire travel process; speak up if anything makes you or your child uncomfortable.
- Persons with a hidden disability can, if they choose, advise security officers that they have a hidden disability and may need some assistance, or that they need to move a bit more slowly than others.
- Family members or traveling companions can advise Security Officers when they are traveling with someone who has a hidden disability, which may cause that person to move slowly, become agitated easily, and/or need additional assistance.
- Family members or traveling companions can offer suggestions to Security Officers on the best way to approach the person with a hidden disability, especially when it is necessary to touch the person during a pat-down inspection.
- Family members or traveling companions can stay with the person during a public or private screening; however, they may be required to be re-screened if they provide assistance to the person.
TSA Cares is a helpline that assists travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. TSA recommends that passengers or caregivers call 72 hours ahead of travel for information about what to expect during security screening, and to ensure time to coordinate checkpoint support with the TSA Customer Service Manager at the airport if needed.
A handy tool for travelers with a disability is the TSA Disability Notification Card ( 69 KB). You can print the card and complete the blanks which will inform TSA officers of a disability in a concise and discrete manner. See link in the Resources section below.
Children under 2 are not required to have a paid ticket and can sit in a parent’s lap, but for many children this creates anxiety or behavioral issues on a long flight. For children with mobility or behavioral issues, request seating where there are no passengers in front of you. The bulkhead of a cabin has extra leg space and with no seat in front of you, no one can recline into your space. Some airlines reserve this space for people with disabilities, so call ahead to ask for this.
All airports are wheelchair-accessible. Contact the airline to find out what their procedures are for a gate check of the wheelchair. As a precaution against loss or damage, always remove the detachable parts before your wheelchair is stored, and label the chair with your name, address, and destination airport. Generally, your child can use her own chair until the boarding process. If she is able to walk a short distance, you can request a seat near the entrance doors. If she needs assistance boarding the plane, request an aisle wheelchair at boarding and de-boarding. Your child's wheelchair will then be stored conveniently for immediate availability on arrival. If there is any damage to the wheelchair, inform the airline and inquire about repair/replacement policies.
Many larger, international airlines can accommodate a traveler in a stretcher, although you will have to fly with the necessary medical supervision. Transport of a stretcher often requires the purchase of 6-9 seats to cover the airline's cost of lost seating. Medical clearance is required, and we recommend you contact the relevant airline as early as possible to inform them that you will need to fly in a stretcher.
Medical certification is only required for:
- a passenger requiring medical oxygen during a flight – contact the airline for specifics on oxygen use
- a passenger who will probably require extraordinary medical assistance during the flight
- a passenger traveling on a stretcher or in an incubator
- a passenger with a communicable disease
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) allows Service dogs and emotional support animals to travel in the cabin of the aircraft as long as the dog does not obstruct an aisle or any other area used for emergency evacuations.
More and more, people with disabilities are traveling abroad. Individual countries have their own standards of accessibility for travelers with disabilities. Research and preparation is important for safe and accessible international travel. See the international travel link in the Resources section below for further information on international travel for individuals with disabilities.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Child Car Seat Inspection
Child Care Seat Inspection Station Locator.
Car seat check-up events.
The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists
The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists was established in 1977 to support professionals working in the field of driver education / driver training and transportation equipment modifications for persons with disabilities through education and information dissemination.
National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA)
NMEDA is a nonprofit association that supports nearly 600 manufacturers, dealers and driver rehabilitation specialists that work together to improve the transportation options for people with disabilities. NMEDA is the only organization for the adaptive mobility industry that monitors its members to ensure they abide by the safety standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program.
Transporting Children with Special Health Care Needs
This statement reviews important considerations for transporting children with special health care needs and provides current guidelines for the protection of children with specific health care needs, including those with a tracheostomy, a spica cast, challenging behaviors, or muscle tone abnormalities as well as those transported in wheelchairs.
Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with Disabilities
The information in this brochure is based on the experience of driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals who work with individuals who require adaptive devices for their motor vehicles.
Paratransit Eligibility Handbook (ADA)
Section 223 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that public entities which operate non-commuter fixed route transportation services also provide complementary paratransit service for individuals unable to use the fixed route system. The regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which implement this portion of the law, specify to whom and under what circumstances this service is to be provided. Dated 1993.
Access Travel Center
Here you will find ground and air transportation listings for traveling to and from medical facilities such as doctor's offices, diagnostic testing centers, outpatient clinics and hospitals.
Medicaid Benefits: Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
States are required to make NEMT available to Medicaid beneficiaries to assure their access to medically necessary services but have the option to provide it as a State Plan service or as an administrative expense, with either option eligible for federal Medicaid matching funds.
Amtrak supports the Americans with Disabilities Act and has worked to make facilities more accessible to customers with disabilities.
Flying with a Disability
Disability air travel information and advice.
Child Safety on Airplanes (FAA)
The FAA strongly urges parents and guardians to secure children in an appropriate restraint based on weight and size.
Kids Fly Safe, CARES Airplane Safety Harness for Children
CARES harness is already certified for kids 22-44 lbs for all phases of flight.
International Travel for Individuals with Disabilities
Individual countries have their own standards of accessibility for travelers with disabilities, so it is important to conduct research in advance and think about your needs throughout the course of your trip.