Go Baby Go!
Dayton Children's patients get customized wheels
Keelie’s blond curls bounce as she whips by in a hot pink convertible, the music from her radio sharing the beat with anyone she passes. Caleb cruises by smoothly, looking chill in his white BMW. Emori pauses to smile from the seat of his red Mercedes. As they zoom past one another, moms and dads smile and cheer them on. Kylie takes the pacifier out of her mouth to give her mom a big smile then races off again across the lobby of Dayton Children’s Hospital.
These kids are all the proud new owners of battery-operated cars, customized specifically for them by the University of Dayton and Dayton Children’s Hospital at the Go Baby Go! event.
Go Baby Go! is a national workshop that harnesses the power of local volunteers to retrofit electric cars for children who have trouble walking or getting around. Each car receives adaptations personalized to the children, including push-button controls, headrests or back supports. Walmart of Urbana donated two of this year's cars.This is the second year for the event. Tim and Megan Reissman, assistant professors of mechanical engineering at the University of Dayton, brought the event to Dayton Children’s in June 2017, along with the Miami Valley Spina Bifida Organization.
"In addition to contributing to the common good in the Miami Valley, this is a great hands-on, practical learning experience for our engineering and physical therapy students interested in biomechanics and rehabilitation," said the Reissmans.
Eight children who are Dayton Children’s rehabilitation patients received the customized cars at this year’s event. Students from UD along with physical therapists started early to modify the cars, then fitted each child when they arrived before putting the finishing touches in place. Within minutes each child was zooming around the hospital lobby, getting used to the car and its controls.
“While we work with each of these children to strengthen their bodies in therapy, these cars help them explore their environment in a unique way,” says Michelle Potts, MD, physical medicine and rehabilitation division at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “We make therapy as fun as it can be and this is just an extension of that philosophy.”