• English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
Back to Firefly Blog

Accessibility: What is a radar key?

Accessibility: What is a radar key?

The “accessible” loos we're referring to are those with wheelchair symbols on the door, usually found in public areas, shops or restaurants.

Unlike regular public toilets, these loos are often locked to the general public to prevent misuse and to keep them clean.

Unless you carry a radar key with you then you may need to find a staff member to grant you access to the “accessible” toilet.

But disabled people don’t really want to have to ask permission to use a toilet, especially when the chances of finding the magical key holder are usually slim to none.

Radar keys mean you don’t have to ask, you can simply let yourself in.

These keys don’t just open standard “accessible” toilets though.

Many of the UK’s Changing Places toilets are only accessible with a radar key so it is well worth taking the time to get one to take with you when you are away from home.

Why are, “accessible”, loos locked anyway, surely that makes them in-accessible?

There are many reasons that businesses and councils lock their “accessible” toilets.

Many of those reasons are to do with keeping them clean and safe for disabled users, but it may also be to prevent misuse if the location is not monitored regularly by a staff member.

Why are they so huge?

Radar keys are massive, there’s no getting away from it.

They’re not something you’d want on your keyring and you certainly wouldn’t want to keep one in your jeans pocket.  But they are large for a reason.

They are designed to be easier for people with physical impairments to get out of a bag and in to a lock.

And their ergonomic design is there to give good leverage to make them easier to use.

Who can have a radar key?

When these keys were first introduced in the 1980’s, there were tight controls on who could get a key.

People had to apply to their local council and would only be given a key if they met strict requirements.

However, over the years these rules have been relaxed which means that they are much easier for disabled people to access.

You can now buy radar keys online from websites such as Amazon & Ebay or in stores such as Argos.

This has, sadly, made them more open to misuse as there are no checks carried out to ensure buyers have a legitimate need for one.

Where do I get a radar key?

The radar key had a make-over recently as there were so many unreliable keys on the market.

To ensure you have a key which will work in all radar locks, it is recommended that you have a “blue heart comfort key” which you can get from your local council or from the blue badge company and other reputable sellers.

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.


Meet Our Blogger

For Firefly, life is all about experiences and being face to face with friends and loved ones. By enhancing the child's perspective and giving them the tools to 'join in', the child not only has the opportunity to participate, but can also be at the heart of it.

View Firefly’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on

Purchases on £99+

UK Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of £99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on purchases of £99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 4-month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 4 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • Any remaining balance due after the 4-month promotional period or any transactions under £99 will be charged interest at 19.9% p.a. (variable).

Purchases of £98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend £98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • In order to maintain the 0% offer, you need to keep up monthly repayments and stay within your credit limit. Credit subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. UK residents only.

Please wait...