Importance: Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of unintentional deaths of children ages 1 and older, particularly children with health care needs.
Objective: To explore family caregivers’ experiences and current practices while transporting children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Design: A concurrent nested mixed-methods approach was used to gain insight into caregiver experiences.
Setting: Participants completed an online Qualtrics survey.
Participants: A convenience sample of 54 caregivers of children with ASD from 17 U.S. states.
Results: Themes that emerged include sensory behaviors of children, education related to child passenger safety, and participation in the community. Statistically significant findings suggest a correlation between caregivers (n = 39) being less likely to participate in activities away from home if the child had attempted to elope (p = .013), displayed aggressive behaviors (p = .005), or demonstrated self-injurious behaviors (p = .001).
Conclusions and Relevance: The findings suggest a correlation between caregivers limiting the distance traveled during vehicular transportation and behavioral safety concerns. If caregivers must limit travel, they may refrain from accessing the community and engaging in leisure pursuits.
What This Article Adds: The findings suggest that therapists who treat children with ASD should be familiar with child passenger safety restraints, particularly for elopement.