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A Sheffield two-year-old who isn’t able to ‘switch off’ and sleep for more than a few hours is now safe through the night and his mum is able to get some much needed rest, thanks to the emergency loan of a specialist bed from Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children.

Oscar Clarke, who lives with his mum Charlotte Watkins in the village of Deepcar, is a bubbly child who loves to laugh and smile and although he is soon to celebrate his third birthday, developmentally he is around 12 months old. He experiences seizures when he is unwell and until recently had daily absences, which have only just begun to be controlled by medication. He also has no awareness of danger and although he can crawl and cruise along furniture he is very unstable and not yet walking.

Most little ones will wake through the night, but before having the loan bed Oscar would struggle to fall asleep and then only manage three to four hours, which would often be interrupted. While awake he would either play with his toys or rip apart his bedding – and even parts of the bed itself. He would also climb over the child gate in an attempt to access the rest of the house, so Charlotte would go to him as soon as she heard him wake.

Now, however, Oscar is sleeping up to 11 hours a night – and his mum can’t believe the difference a specialist bed has made.

Oscar was able to trial a safety sleeper bed from a medical supplier for a few weeks – which quickly helped him fall asleep and kept him safe should he wake or experience a seizure. However, this was only on a short-term loan, so mum Charlotte applied to Newlife – the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness for help. The charity was quickly able to provide a bed for a longer loan period to continue to keep Oscar safe.

Mum Charlotte said: “The bed we have from Newlife is really good and Oscar is still sleeping well. Before we had the loan bed I would have to listen out for him constantly and having so little sleep made everyday life hard. It was tiring for both of us.”

Now when Charlotte puts Oscar to bed she knows that he is likely to get a good night’s sleep, but if he does wake she doesn’t need to go to him straight away as he is safely enclosed in soft walls. If he should have a seizure there is also nothing he can hurt himself on. Charlotte added: “Oscar can’t get out of bed to carry on playing so he sleeps more now. It’s made a big difference to our lives.”

Newlife’s is the only nationwide emergency equipment loan service in the UK, offering a rapid response – often within 72 hours – for families of life limited and terminally ill children and those sleeping in unsafe environments, like Oscar. Loans of equipment are for around six months, while Newlife works with local statutory services to secure provision. If this isn’t possible, Newlife can look to provide permanent provision through its Equipment Grant service. The charity has supported 402 disabled and terminally ill children in South Yorkshire – and is currently working with 12 families in the area with equipment needs totalling £23,370. To find out more about Newlife’s work in South Yorkshire, go to: For further information about how you can support families in South Yorkshire, contact Newlife’s Regional Fundraising and Awareness Manager for Yorkshire, Caroline Artschan, on 07534 491 933 or by emailing

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in South Yorkshire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.

Pictured: Oscar Clarke