Health Team

Special car seat helps babies with hip defect

Posted May 30, 2012 6:00 a.m. EDT
Updated May 31, 2012 6:09 a.m. EDT

— A Holly Springs couple is helping the families of infants with a hip abnormality that prevents them from riding in normal car seats.

Stacy Barnes-Hardy's daughters, 8-year-old Carter Marie and 2-year-old Ellie, inherited her hip dysplasia, a genetic condition in which the hips form out of joint.

"I remember things were just slightly more difficult for me in some ways," Barnes-Hardy said.

Most infants with hip dysplasia receive a special harness. "In 90 percent of cases, that helps to correct the problem, and no further treatment is necessary," Barnes-Hardy said.

Like their mother, though, both Hardy girls needed open surgery to position their joints. They then got a special cast "which is essentially a body cast that goes from about your chest to your ankles," Barnes-Hardy said.

Barnes-Hardy wore a cast for six months, and her daughters for two months each.

"Diapering and transportation are huge issues," Barnes-Hardy said.

The girls couldn't sit in normal seats. "Carter Marie, we couldn't take her many places. We couldn't go out to eat. We didn't see family members that were far away," their father, Jay Hardy, said.

When Ellie got her cast, though, UNC Hospitals loaned the family a specially designed car seat called a Hippo at no charge. These car seats typically sell for $500.

The Hardy family has started a fundraiser so that more families could have the special car seat when they need it.

"Just to be able to transfer your child safely in a car seat that you don't have to go out and spend $500 on is really an extremely helpful thing," Barnes-Hardy said.

Donations for Hippo seats at UNC Hospitals Children's Clinic can be made by calling Stacey Ferguson at 919-951-4048.