Approximately 3,000 Oregon children under the age of 3 suffer from mobility disabilities, according to Oregon State University professor Sam Logan. To help these children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or other mobility restrictions, the innovative Go Baby Go project grants disabled children mobility through modified toy cars.
Created by University of Delaware’s Physical Therapy professor Cole Galloway, the initiative was brought to Oregon by Logan. The simple modification process, accessible online, utilizes PCV pipe, a toggle switch, and basic hardware equipment to transform a ride-on toy car. The finished product, whether a Barbie jeep or Pixar’s Lightning McQueen, allows toddlers with limited mobility to experience the freedom of unrestricted movement.
This mobility aids development “not just in motor skills but also in cognition, language and social skills,” Logan told The Oregonian.
Funded by OSU and fees from Logan’s speaking engagements, the project asks parents to return Go Baby Go cars when their child outgrows them. Cars for older children with restricted mobility are also in the works.
Go Baby Go will come to Portland on May 1 in Logan’s workshop at Jefferson High School. The event will teach parents how to build the cars and give children the opportunity to drive them.
Galloway is pleased to see how the initiative took off. Now a worldwide movement, the Go Baby Go Facebook page shares posts from grateful families across the globe.
Researchers from Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia found that mothers who live in greener environments deliver healthier babies — a plentiful amount of grass, trees and other vegetation leads to longer terms and higher birth weights.
The results of the study were unique, in that they did not falter when adjusted to specific area factors: neighborhood income, noise, outdoor walkability, and exposure to air pollution.
Perry Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist at OSU and lead author of the study, said the results were unexpected. “We expected the association between greenness and birth outcomes to disappear once we accounted for other environmental exposures such as air pollution and noise, he said. “The research really suggests that greenness affects birth outcomes in other ways, such as psychologically or socially.”
According to The Statesman Journal, researchers studied over 64, 000 births in the Vancouver, British Columbia area.
Their research found that mothers living in greener areas had 20 percent lower extreme pre-term births and 13 percent lower moderate pre-term births.
Hystad and Michael Brauer, the study’s senior author at the University of British Columbia, said the results could have significant implications for public health.
“We know a lot about the negative influences such as living closer to major roads but demonstrating that a design choice can have benefits is really uplifting,” Brauer said. “With the high cost of healthcare, modifying urban design features such as increasing green space may turn out to be extremely cost-effective strategies to prevent disease.”
It is unclear how much green space is needed to make a significant impact.
Hystad said green space is good, but the question is: “How do we maximize that benefit to improve health outcomes?”