Specialist car seat allows toddler with cerebral palsy to travel with family

Charlie Mitcham, from Great Cornard, now has a new specialised car seat thanks to a national charity

Charlie Mitcham, from Great Cornard, now has a new specialised car seat thanks to a national charity Picture: CAUDWELL CHILDREN - Credit: Archant

A two-year-old boy from west Suffolk with cerebral palsy has received a specialist car seat allowing him to travel with his family.

Charlie Mitcham, from Great Cornard, near Sudbury, was born at 29 weeks and contracted sepsis soon after his birth.

Following further medical complications, Charlie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and the condition affects all four of the toddler’s limbs leaving him unable to crawl, sit up or stand.

When travelling in the car with his parents, Christina and James, Charlie was using a standard car seat which did not meet all of his needs.

Mum Christina, 28, said: “The car seat that Charlie was using hadn’t been designed for his posture. It must have been uncomfortable for him and we didn’t think that it was safe.”

The parents scoured the internet to find a specialist car seat for their son but the one best suited to his needs was out of their budget.

“We desperately needed the car seat as travelling in the car had become a stressful experience,” dad James, 42, said.

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“But the Elite car seat that Charlie needed was out of our budget and we resigned ourselves to spending more time at home.”

After hearing about Caudwell Children – a charity which provides support to disabled children and their families – the parents made an approach for help.

Christina said: “Caudwell Children gave us the funding support that we needed to buy the specialist chair. It’s a fantastic seat because Charlie had to be assessed for it, so it’s pretty much made to measure for him.

““We can’t thank Caudwell Children enough. They’ve been a godsend to the family.”

James added: “It’s much easier to sit him in the seat and it’s no longer a struggle to get the seat in the car, so finally we can hit the road again.”

Trudi Beswick, chief executive of Caudwell Children, said: “This car seat will improve Charlie’s s life immeasurably and it will stop him and his family from becoming prisoners in their own home.

“Unbelievably, 75% of families with disabled children feel so isolated that it has caused anxiety and depression, so the provision of this car seat will be vital for the wellbeing of Charlie and his family.

“With continued support from members of the public we can support children like Charlie, giving them the specialist equipment that they so desperately need and deserve.”

People can donate to Caudwell Children at www.justgiving.com/caudwell/