Disability health professionals in NSW can apply for free enrolment in a first-of-its-kind training course to improve road safety for children with disabilities and medical conditions.

Transport for NSW Community Road Safety Grants has funded 100 places for eligible health professionals in the online training course: Transporting Children with Disabilities and Medical Conditions.

Mobility and Accessibility for Children in Australia Ltd (MACA) launched the online training course in mid-2022 to build the knowledge and confidence of allied health professionals responsible for assessing and prescribing for children’s motor vehicle transport needs.

The course features contributions from experts in child restraints, research, road safety and health, and participants learn how to embed safe transport planning into day-to-day practice. Participants will receive a copy of the MACA Guide prescribing resource.

In a national survey conducted by MACA, only 19 per cent of NSW health professionals reported they had considerable knowledge or skill in addressing car seating needs of children with disabilities and medical conditions.

MACA chief executive Helen Lindner said in less than a year since it was launched, the training was already making a difference for families. “We have received an overwhelming response from allied health professionals who are telling us that they feel more confident, equipped and supported in their clinical decision making since completing the training course,” she said.

“This is leading to better outcomes for families and reducing NDIS funding wait times for special purpose car seats, which are needed by some children with disabilities and medical conditions for safer and more comfortable travel.”

According to occupational therapist Fiona Nielsen from Wise Occupational Therapy the online training course and associated resources are invaluable for health professionals.

“The MACA Guide provides a framework with templates for a methodical approach to navigate the challenge many families who have children with disabilities or medical needs face daily. Namely, transporting their children safely. By having the MACA Guide in my virtual pocket, my confidence to support families in this area has improved to no end,” she said.

“I would recommend MACA’s training course to all health professionals assessing and prescribing for children’s transport needs.”

Applications for round one for the fully funded places closes April 7, 2023 with places allocated through a simple Expression of Interest process with eligible applicants notified on April 10. If places remain, a further round will be made available.

For more information, including terms and conditions, visit www.macahub.org/training