Walkers and forearm crutches, although designed to aid physically, may negatively affect a child’s social interactions. Physically impaired children are often stigmatized and excluded from group activities because they can’t keep up. A physical therapy professor from the University of Delaware, however, discovered one method of mobilizing children to the point they may outrun their peers. The idea, inspired by a trip to Toys “R” Us, resulted in the project, “Go Baby Go!”
Dr. James “Cole” Galloway discovered that for $200 he could purchase a $100-ride-on car from Toys “R” Us and $100 of Home Depot supplies to create an easily operable vehicle for children with physical impairments. He realized he had found an alternative to the power wheelchair, which can cost well over $1,000.
Since taking the first ride-on car off the store shelf and modifying it with nuts and bolts, Galloway has thereafter mobilized hundreds of disabled children all over the country. The group, dedicated to research, consulting, design, and production at the University of Delaware’s Pediatric Mobility Lab and Design Studio, has expanded the project from Delaware to the rest of the country via social media and other platforms.
The modified cars, or mini jeeps, also help with physical therapy. One of the kids, Xander, uses a larger model 4x4 that only moves when he stands, so he strengthens his legs as he cruises around.
“I want you to feel like you have control over your own happiness. And I know for young children, that’s attached to your mobility,” Galloway says in the video.
See the kids race past their peers below: