A simple piece of specialist equipment will keep three-year-old Rosie Yarnold and her family safe during journeys to hospital and clinic appointments, thanks to leading children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation.
Rosie, from Stanstead in Essex, has Downs Syndrome and low muscle tone. She urgently needs a specialist car seat to keep her secure during journeys. Mum Teresa Yarnold says: “Rosie’s current car seat, which has a five-point harness, is for children up to 18kilos – and that’s her weight right now. Not only is she too tall for the seat, but she is able to wriggle out of the harness; then she just wants to climb over the seats into the front. She has no awareness of danger and this puts at risk the safety of everyone in the car, including her two-year-old brother Thomas.
“A booster seat is the logical progression for three-year-olds. But we have tried Rosie in one and she is able to get out in a split second.
“We need a specialist car seat with five-point harness and secondary straps to ensure Rosie stays in the seat – and is therefore safe during all journeys. But ‘special needs’ equipment comes at a massive price. It’s hard enough coping with her condition without fighting for the equipment we really need.”
Statutory funding is not available for specialist car seats, and the cost of the equipment for Rosie – £599.99 – prompted the family to turn to Newlife Foundation for help.
Newlife has awarded 133 Equipment Grants for children in Essex, totalling £207,764 and – recognising the urgency of the situation – is responding to Rosie’s seating needs.
Teresa added: “Because the specialist seating is a bit like a chair, I am hoping that Rosie will be able to climb into it by herself, giving her a bit of independence. It would make her so much more excited about going in the car if she could get into her seat by herself, like her two-year-old brother.”
Demand on the charity’s range of practical support services is growing – as statutory budgets are cut across the UK – so Newlife is increasingly calling on ‘local heroes’ to help fund equipment for children in their own counties.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “We guarantee that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Essex can be ring-fenced to specifically provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children within the county.”
The charity is currently working with the families of seven other children in Essex with equipment needs totalling £16,822. So if you think you could donate or raise money to contribute towards this equipment, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.
For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – freephone 0800 902 0095 – or go to:
Pictured: Rosie Yarnold.