Autistic boy regains independence and inclusion thanks to Australian innovation in seat belt technology

My son has Autism, a severe intellectual disability and significant gastrointestinal issues all of which cause him anxiety and pain. He is 14 and has been living out of home for 18 months in his own purpose-built home with  2 on 1, 24-hour care.


Transporting him safely became increasingly difficult over the last year as he would become distressed over wearing his harness to the point where he would injure himself and his carers often stripping to try and gain control of his environment.
He always loved going out for a drive and looking at the community but it became almost impossible to transport him when despite all attempts to put him in his harness, his carers and staff at his school could not do so.
He was unable to go on school excursions or participate in offsite activities due to safety constraints and the carers from his home struggled to keep him in a standard seatbelt (he would not allow a buckle cover). He would almost always put his seatbelt on when entering his vehicle only to remove it and become escalated, sometimes getting out of his seat and grabbing and injuring his carers including the driver. This of course made his carers reluctant to take him on community access and his world became smaller and smaller to the point where he would refuse to get in his van and would stay at home.

I was made aware of the Stayput safety belt system toward the end of last year and promptly rang the company with many questions and after seeing a demonstration of the system when it was being installed in a vehicle at my sons school, I was very keen to have it installed in my sons van and even went so far as to have 3 seat buckles installed across the back seat in anticipation that he might change his seat position upon entering the van. This turned out to be a good decision.
Since we had the Stayput system installed, my son has happily left the house and secured his seatbelt independently every time. It took approximately 1 week for him to lose his frustration at not being able to remove his belt whilst in transit and his carers have become much more confident to take him to school and on community access. They have even switched the system off on occasion when my son is calm and content which is a lot more often. Now his world is getting better and I have the peace of mind knowing he is safe and happy.
What really attracted me to the Stayput system apart from the safety component is the low level of restrictive practice that has given my son a significant amount of independence.


7th March 2018

Service Provider creates a safe vehicle environment for participants to develop seat belt skills and gain independence    

Flintwood Disability Services mission is “To be a flexible service providing opportunities for people with a disability to enjoy a varied and fulfilling life within the community”.  As such, we’re always looking for ways to change and improve what we offer, using the latest equipment and clinical research to tailor a service that goes well beyond the levels required by the National Disability Standards.

Our challenge

Flintwood currently provides mini-bus transport for its day program and group home services for accessing the community.  The safety of our participants and support workers is paramount, so we insist on the correct use of safety restraints at all times and incorporate use of buckle cover guards and behavioural harnesses in Positive Behaviour Support Plans as required.  Occasionally we must decline transport for those who can defeat the buckle cover guard and unbuckle their seat belts and or object to wearing a behavioural harness.  We have concerns as to the restrictive nature of these interventions during the event of an accident and that these practices are inconsistent with our commitment to least restrictive service provision.


What has been tried in the past

We have tried behavioural solutions, additional support staff and the use of buckle cover guards and behavioural harnesses.  Although effective in addressing duty of care, these measures incur down-time and additional cost which affects the profitability of our transport service.   Furthermore, buckle cover guards and behavioural harnesses are quite restrictive, can trigger behaviours of concern and offer very little in addressing dignity of risk.


A new approach

Our Restrictive Practices Panel reviewed the Stayput Safety Belt Security System as a low risk, least restrictive option for a specific group of participants and decided to trial it in one vehicle.  We were interested to see how it improved the outcomes in transporting participants known to display behaviours of concern that involved undoing a standard seat belt and moving about the vehicle.  Over a three-month period, our staff found the system to be really easy to use and effective in achieving the following outcomes:

  1. Decreased the frequency of behaviours of concern whilst preparing to travel, due to not having to fit/remove buckle cover guards and behavioural harnesses. This has reduced the risk of injury for our support workers, and allowed us to reinstate access to transport for some participants previously unable to attend off-site activities due to behaviours of concern.
  2. Decreased the average embarking and disembarking time by approx. 30 minutes, due to not having to fit/remove buckle cover guards and behavioural harnesses for specific participants attending a group outing.
  3. Reduced risk for all people in the vehicle and other road users as participants stay safely seated whilst the vehicle is on-route or trying to park at the destination which is when they can get very impatient.
  4. A great opportunity for Travel training in that the Stayput system utilises standard seat belts with an electronic security feature that can only be activated when everybody else is expected by law to wear a seat belt.  All four participants trialled with the intervention developed new skills of not interfering with their seat belt whilst the vehicle is on-route, and are much happier in being able to independently apply and release their own seat belt when the vehicle is safely parked.  Furthermore, two of the participants have proudly demonstrated transferring their new skills to other seating positions in the bus which have standard seat belts.

Overall, the Stayput system enabled a Positive behaviour support strategy which included changing the environment (ie: vehicle modification) and providing ongoing travel training to create a more inclusive transport service.  This offers to simultaneously improve quality (ie: lower risk, least restrictive approach) and reduce cost (ie: increased efficiency and reduced down-time) of our bus service, making for a more sustainable operation.  It also helps enact our company policy of balancing duty of care provisions against a participant’s dignity of risk opportunities in accessing transport.  As a result, we are looking to adopt the Stayput system more widely in our vehicle fleet and highly recommend this new approach to the sector. 


22nd Dec 2017

Father praises NDIS for funding a low risk, least restrictive seat belt solution to ensure his son can be safely transported

My 26-year-old son has the trifecta as in the Australian horse racing parlance

  • Intellectual Disability with severe autism 
  • Mental Health Disability with very violent behaviour diagnosed as psychotic & compounded by bi-polar 
  • Neurological Disability with severe epileptic seizures compounded by Clonic episodic seizures


I was able to fit a Perspex Safety Shield Barrier in the van transporting my son.  At last I could relax whilst transporting my son, that myself (or staff) taking my son to his various programs were now safe whenever he had these manic violent episodes.


The manager at his Day program indicated that my son can take off the traditional seat belt buckle guard. A further extreme danger that the day program faced, was when manually putting this buckle guard on, my son had hit & attacked staff.  The day program manager also indicated that there were 2 other more capable clients who were clever enough to take off the traditional manual belt buckle guard.  In addition to violently charging the staff member driving the day program van, my son was breaking the law as he was NO LONGER wearing a seat belt.


After seeking the advice of numerous program managers, the respite manager mentioned he had seen an electronic belt buckle system at a recent disability expo. His paperwork was meticulous & filing system was spot on.  He found the brochure outlining the Stayput System.


A few calls & emails later, the system was installed and paid for by my son's NDIS Plan.


The ease of use of the Stayput System is astounding, BUT most importantly my son is:

  • secured in his seat belt ELECTRONICALLY 

  • without the risk of attacks whilst trying to install the old manual belt buckle guard & 

  • NO rampaging inside the van 

  • NOR breaking the law without a seat belt whilst travelling.

VERY PROUD of the fact that this is an AUSTRALIAN INVENTION from A to Z!!


21st Dec 2017




Fleet Manager in the NSW Disability Sector

Congratulations on developing the Stayput Restraint system, an Australian innovation with a fail-safe release in the event of a crash or vehicle loss of power.


Last year we installed this system in one of our Fleet customer transportation vans and have been very satisfied with the additional safety for the customers and peace of mind for the drivers. The driver activates and deactivates the system remotely from the control unit on the dashboard allowing less time in the customers’ personal space fiddling with a seat belt cover and associated risks of staff injury.  We have been very happy with the Stayput system and look to install more units in our Fleet as the need arises.


Thank you Stayput Restraints, a great innovation!

6th Dec 2016



Supported accommodation services worker for people with disability

We have been using the Stayput system in our vehicle for the past few months to help transport a highly behavioural resident. 


We have found this system the easiest and safest system to use as it is operated from the front of the vehicle and staff are not required to get into the back of the vehicle to undo or put on the seat belt.  We have 2 of the seat belts installed in our vehicle so that the resident has a choice over where they are seated.  The resident has not tried to remove her seat belt since the new system was installed. The safety of the staff and other residents is now due to the Stayput system reducing risk.


Our experience working with Ken and his team has been amazing and they are very quick to answer questions.  I would highly recommend this system to anyone who needs to ensure a person is safely secured in a vehicle as there is no contact with her person or the seat belt and system is easy to operate and user-friendly.


5th Dec 2016 



Father of 4 children (Passenger Vehicle)

Our eldest boy started to undo his seat belt on every trip, we tried everything to stop him but to no avail. Then his younger brother started doing the same. We had the Stayput System fitted and are now a family of six that look forward to travelling stress-free and safely without driver distraction.


18th May 2017