Gemma’s sitting pretty in her new car seat!

We recently awarded a 4-year-old girl who has to use a wheelchair full time funding for a specialised car seat, giving her and her family a new lease of life.

Gemma in her new car seat!

Gemma, who lives in Motherwell, was born with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus which means she is unable to stand or walk. She required a specialist car seat to keep her safe and comfortable on journeys and also to make it easier for her parents to transfer her in and out of the family car as she is fully dependent on them to move her.

Adaptations on this special car seat include a swivel base which makes the difficult manoeuvre of getting Gemma in and out of the car much more manageable with less risk to both Gemma and her parents. The seat also has much better postural support to help keep her in a safe and comfortable upright position whilst in the car and reduce any risk of her injuring herself.

With no funding available for the family and the right equipment costing almost £2,000, Gemma’s mum Elenor was recommended to contact us to find out if we could help. Gemma’s mum Elenor comments:

4 year old Gemma

“As Gemma was getting older and growing more, it was getting us harder for us to move her around without injuring her or ourselves. However, the price of this car seat was so expensive that we just wouldn’t have been able to fund it ourselves.”

Elenor applied to us for funding and was delighted when we provided a grant for the full amount of £1979, with the new seat arriving just a couple of weeks later. She continues: “The car seat has made a huge difference to Gemma’s comfort and wellbeing – she’s now much more stable when in the car and we have finally been able to go out on a longer journey for the first time as a family. In fact, we recently went to the Loch Lomond SEA LIFE centre together, which is over an hour away, something we would never have imagined we’d have been able to do before we got the car seat!”

Through the provision of much-needed equipment like this, we make a difference to the lives of thousands of children and their families like Gemma, yet we receive no government funding so are reliant on voluntary donations to keep providing these grants.

Children Today chief executive Ben Partridge comments: “Specialised pieces of equipment like this car seat can help increase a child’s independence and give families the freedom many take for granted. This has meant that Gemma and her parents have been able to travel further and ultimately do more together, so not only has it had huge benefits to Gemma but it’s had a positive impact on the wellbeing of the whole family.”

Elenor adds: “My husband and I used to twist our backs all the time when we moved Gemma and had become resigned to the fact that we could easily have a serious back injury at any time, so this car seat really has been a life saver for all of us. As the seat should last for her until her teens, this is only going to get better and better.”