When five-year-old Edgardo Ferrari from Sevenoaks outgrew his standard car seat, he was restricted to short journeys to school only. There was nothing available on the high street which was suitable for Edgardo, who has Cerebral Palsy, and without the extra support for his posture he would fall forward and lean to the side, making journeys uncomfortable and unsafe for him.
Mum Gabriela Kroh said: “We could no longer travel very far by car, so we just had to use the car seat for school.”
As Edgardo isn’t able to walk he uses a wheelchair to get around and needs to be hoisted or lifted for transfers. The muscles of his trunk and pelvis are also weak, so he needs help to keep him in the right position when he’s sitting, so having the right car seat is vital.
As the specialist car seat Edgardo needed cost £1,315 Gabriela turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, the largest UK charity providing specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness, which recognised the urgency of the situation and quickly provided the car seat to ensure his safety.
The car seat was funded through Newlife’s partnership with fashion store chain River Island, and its ‘fantastic plastic initiative’ which sees the profit from every five pence carrier bag sold at River Island’s UK stores go to Newlife to directly fund vital equipment. To date, this has resulted in almost £600,000 of specialist support.
Gabriela added: “The specialist car seat from Newlife has really changed things – Edgardo is safe now when we travel, his position in the seat is better and there is room for his legs, so he is more comfortable. The seat also has a turntable base so I can transfer him in and out of the car without banging his head on the roof, and it’s much easier for me too as it is better for my back.
“Edgardo is non-verbal and learning how to use a communication aid – but he has very expressive eyes which say a lot and he is an incredibly happy boy with a contagious laugh – I know the new car seat is making him happy.”
Newlife’s Head of Charity Operations Stephen Morgan says: “It’s great we could help Edgardo, but right now the charity is working with 11 disabled and terminally ill children in Kent in need of specialist equipment and must raise £18,446 to help them too. Newlife has already supported 351 children across Kent.
“We really want to help change the lives of these children and their families, so we are calling on local individuals, groups, clubs and companies to get involved and support them too.