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Disability Action Center NW

Toy Cars Provide Independent Mobility for Disabled Children

According to a video by GoBabyGo, “kids usually have to wait until they’re 16 to drive a car, but Doctor Cole Galloway, a professor from the University of Delaware is working on a project to build cars for toddler age children who are disabled and can’t walk.”

By taking commercially available toy cars for kids like the Barbie Jeep and modifying them to have enhanced safety features, and to fit the child’s individual physical needs, Dr. Galloway and his team have come up with a way to provide independent mobility for disabled children. One example given was a little girl who would not lift her head up. The car was designed so that the switch to make the car go was directly behind her head. She now lifts her head up!

The program, called GoBabyGo is developing a prototype vehicle called Big Blue, after the University of Delaware’s mascot. Amazingly, Dr. Galloway is willing to give the design information to interested people who want to build these vehicles for children they know. He sends out an manual for parents to use to make modifications on their own and then they need to have an electrical or mechanical engineer come by and certify the car – and they are ready to go!

Dr. Galloway said: “The opportunity to couple research funding with a commercial partner ensures that the resulting vehicle will roll out as both a clinically effective and real-world ready mobility option for children and their families.”

Children who can’t walk are often pushed in strollers or picked up, so someone else is controlling where they are able to move, but with the vehicles, these kids will have a new sense of freedom.”