These Modified Toy Cars Offer More Than Just Fun To Kids With Disabilities

"He had a sense of his own individual movement and freedom."

GoBabyGo wants to make sure kids with disabilities never miss out on the fun. 

The program, which originally began at the University of Delaware, produces modified toy cars that leave a lasting impact on a child's life. Levi Hagerty, 6, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is a quadriplegic. But GoBabyGo has given him the freedom to just be a kid. 

"It was the most exciting thing ever — that smile on his face. It really builds his confidence. He's come a long way," his mom, Nicole Hagerty, 30, of Oswego, Illinois, said in an interview with Today.

Hagerty said that when she was giving birth, there were "a lot of unknowns." A doctor suggested a power wheelchair for Levi, but the cost of one was not affordable.

According to research from the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, children are not given power wheelchairs until they are much older. The modified toy cars also cost thousands of dollars less than a normal power wheelchair

"There are no commercially available devices for children with mobility issues to get around on their own; and power wheelchairs cost thousand of dollars and usually aren't an option until the children are older," CPF's website states. "The modified cars provide them independence at a much younger age and at a relatively low cost. The cars run about $100 and the electric switches and other modifications, including seating support and padding, bring the total cost to about $200."

Levi received a GoBabyGo toy car in 2015 since then he has improved his core strength and learned to move independently.

"Instead of him sitting on my lap and watching the other kids in the backyard, he is in his chair trying to run them over," Hagerty said. 

Anthony Summers — a Lombard, Illinois, resident —  said his son, Etienne, 5, showed significant improvement after riding in one of the modified toy cars

"It was unbelievable. He had a sense of his own individual movement and freedom," he told Today

Summers said it's amazing that parents can see a change in their child. 

"It is a way for parents to give their child their own freedom. We all strive for them to be on their own," he said. "In this car, he doesn't see any limitations." 

Cover image: iyd39 / Shutterstock.com

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