Each year, over 200 infants nationwide need a large car bed to ride safely to and from their medical appointments and other places, yet they have been marooned by the lack of a specialty device that can fit them. There are currently only two car beds in production in the U.S., and the larger of the two, the Cosco Dream Ride, will accommodate infants only up to 20 pounds and 26 inches long.
Several years ago, the now-discontinued Snug Seat car bed was an option for some infants who were too big for the Dream Ride. Recently, the National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children with Special Healthcare Needs, housed at the Automotive Safety Program of Riley Hospital, Indianapolis, IN, began working with engineers to design a replacement for that car bed. Unfortunately, none of the current manufacturers has been willing to take the next step to bring the prototype to the production stage.
Like “orphan” drugs, specialty child restraints that have a very limited market, such as this one, are extremely expensive to develop, test, and produce. Manufacturers realize that the expenses involved can never be recouped by the sales price that can realistically be charged.
Today, there is hope for finding a parent for this orphan product. A new, small manufacturer, Hope Special Needs Products, LLC, has committed to take on the project, but it must seek financial support to finish development and testing.
Don Boyle of Hope Special Needs Products showed the car bed prototype at the Kidz in Motion conference in Fort Worth last August. The car bed would hold a child from 3.5 to 35 pounds, far beyond the limit of any current or earlier car bed. Occupants up to 30 inches long—or more if their legs can bend—could be accommodated. The Hope car bed would greatly expand the ability to transport infants who need to ride lying down and would go a very long way toward providing a CR for all infants with this need.
Boyle says that $75,000 is needed for production to begin. About a third of that goal has been raised in corporate and foundation grants. To supplement this, the Riley Children’s Foundation, Riley Hospital, Indianapolis, IN, has set up an easy-to-use, online donation site, www.firstgiving.com/automotivesafety, to encourage grass- roots support. To date, the foundation has raised $9,675, bringing the total raised to about half of the goal amount. By going to this site, you can learn about the product, make a donation, and check the fundraising progress.
Please join me in making a donation today to help realize the dream of the Hope car bed. Donations of any size are welcome.
©Safe Ride News Jan/Feb 2010