Three-year-old Eve has extreme and complex health needs including heart abnormalities, chronic respiratory problems, a visual impairment, renal failure and scoliosis. Eve has to travel to medical appointments every week, and due to lack of funding she was forced to use a car seat that she had outgrown. This meant her legs were bent and her spine was under pressure, which was not only extremely uncomfortable, but also dangerous.
Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children are a charity that support families of children with disabilities, often providing specialist equipment to children who need it due to a disability. Eve’s family applied to Newlife for the specialist car seat. Thanks to the Foundation’s donation to Newlife, the charity were able to respond to Eve’s family immediately, and ‘fast-tracked’ her the specialist car seat she desperately needed.
This is a story Newlife knows all too well – the rigid policies of local authorities that refuse to provide a specialist car seat to any child regardless of their circumstances constitutes a ‘blanket ban’, and commissioned barristers’ advice said they would be challengeable in law. The charity believes such bans are likely to be contrary to the rights of disabled children outlined in the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (1970) and Children’s Act (1989), putting vulnerable children at risk of serious injury or even death.
Disabled children who need a car seat can ask to be exempt from the law, but Newlife believe this is just not safe for a child with extra needs to be exempt from a car seat, because of their needs, in order to travel safely.
Newlife’s research revealed blanket bans are being used by councils across the country in relation to providing other equipment including walking frames, specialised buggies, arm supports and high-sided safety beds.
As a result, Newlife has provided equipment to more than 1,200 families in crisis in the past year alone, granting equipment with a total value of over £1,100,000 to ensure vulnerable children are not left at risk - just like Eve.
Eve’s new car seat gives her the postural support she needs to keep her safe and comfortable, and car journeys are not something Eve dreads anymore. Instead of being restricted to travelling to and from the hospital, Eve and her family can now get in the car to enjoy a day trip out, giving them some much needed quality time together, and improving Eve’s quality of life, while being safe.
In 2018 we provided 80 grants to charities. Your charity could benefit financially from our support too. So please visit our Foundation page and put in a grant application.