"This Is a Time When They Need Simplicity"
- By Christy Shimono
- Apr 01, 2014
Often parents [of special needs children] have only been exposed to strollers at their own baby shower or at retail stores when planning for their new arrival. They may go to the hospital with the expectation of leaving with their new baby just days later. Instead this sometimes unexpected event occurs, and they are now faced with needs beyond comprehension: How they feed their baby might be different, ventilators, positioning… and so on. It is so very overwhelming.
Then comes time to evaluate the mobility equipment, and they are shown products that do not always look like the modern stroller they were expecting. The new family may not want others to notice their baby has special needs. Having a product that bridges that gap between providing the baby with necessary positioning and performing in the environment they live in is extremely important.
Therapists work very hard to achieve the best positioning for the child and to teach the caregivers the importance of maintaining it. But during such an overwhelming time, this information can be a lot to take in. One of the worst things that can happen is the family not using the new equipment because the mobility base is difficult to operate or the appearance is so different.
And this is a time when they need simplicity. Unfortunately, the long-term effects of not being positioned correctly will have an impact on the child in the future.
The family needs to feel good about the product, how it looks, and how it performs. And the child needs to be exposed to their environment in order to reach key developmental stages. Having a mobility stroller that looks and performs like the best products out there encourages parents to be more active and utilize the positioning equipment needed to support their baby.
The product needs to be intuitive so when parents, siblings, relatives or friends come to assist the family, they too are comfortable using it. Families want to enjoy going places together and just have fun being a family. Following the launch of the Zippie Voyage [pediatric chair], I received several calls or notes to say “thank you” or share a story. When showing a new mom a picture of the stroller, it was the first time in weeks she stopped and smiled. The multiple color options make a parent feel like they too had a part in the product choice. Another family thanked us for their first trip to the zoo.
This is why we spend so much time on aesthetics, performance and options. They are so very important to the daily lives of every family member.
This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Mobility Management.
Christy Shimono is senior product manager/pediatrics at Sunrise Medical.