The MERU Buckle Stopz is a safety device that can stop people with behavioural issues putting themselves and other vehicle occupants at risk by preventing them from releasing safety belts.
This device was developed in response to requests from specialist providers of services for people with learning difficulties and complex behavioural issues. They had experience with students removing seat belts when travelling, which is obviously a serious risk.
MERU responded by creating the Buckle Stopz, a device that fits over a seat belt buckle, which prevents the release button being pushed.
The Buckle Stopz fits over the seat belt buckle to prevent the seat belt being released, but allows the belt to be released using almost any key, or slim pointed object.
The MERU Buckle Stopz is CE marked as a medical device, and is not intended for use by the general public as a restraint device for children, but by professionals working with people with conditions that include challenging behaviour, or families who have members with these conditions, only after a full risk assessment.
We must stress the importance of the risk assessment, to establish whether it is the most appropriate solution, and full training and awareness of how it works to ensure it is used safely.
Although with correct use, the Buckle Stopz is intended to increase safety, the device’s purpose is to change the method used to release seat-belts, so any driver or carer that is travelling in a vehicle where it is use must be aware of it being present and trained in how it works.
Additionally, Buckle Stopz are supplied with a seat belt cutting tool, and a window sticker to inform emergency services that they are in use and how to release them.
Order one here – https://meru.org.uk/product/buckle-stopz/
“We are very grateful to MERU for developing the buckle stop safety device with us and specifically for one of our students. We made the original referral to MERU after all other devices on the market including some from the U.S. had been tried unsuccessfully as they were either easy to open for this young man with ASD or easily breakable as made of plastic. This meant the our student could not access the community from college on days when his arousal and activity level were very high as we could no longer guarantee his and others safety on minibus transport.
“This was extremely limiting for him and further increased his anxiety and arousal as he could not be as active as he needed to be on such days. The Buckle Stopz has enabled him to stay seated at all times and knowing that it could not be opened or removed helped reassure and calm him and no further incidents were reported. He has since left the college and we have recommended the use of the Buckle Stopz to our colleagues in the community and to his parents to use with his PA. Thanks to the minimal cost and extreme durability this is an item that can easily be purchased by families and carers, the instructions are also clear and easy to follow including the safety recommendations. We are now using the Buckle Stopz with a variety of young adults with profound or severe learning disabilities and/ or ASD who have been found to open the seatbelts while the vehicle is in motion and may therefore not be safe to travel. We follow a multi- disciplinary assessment process to ensure the best interest is in the heart of any decisions related to safe travel on our transport and always opt for the least restrictive support for the person. The buckle stop is often our first choice.”
Head of occupational therapy – Nash College
Nash College is an independent specialist college for learners with moderate to profound learning disabilities. Students may also have a range of additional disabilities or complex medical needs and a significant number have Autism.