A two-year-old boy who risks choking to death every time he travels in a car has been given a lifeline by a charity for disabled children.
Rhys Dean, pictured with his sister Cerys, has a genetic condition called Noonan’s Syndrome and has spent two-thirds of his life in hospital undergoing numerous surgeries.
His condition means he has a life-limiting heart defect, and it also causes him to choke and vomit up to 40 times a day.
To prevent him from choking, Rhys must be kept fully supported in an upright position at all times. This made travelling in a standard shop bought car seat particularly perilous.
“The two hour journey to Southampton hospital regularly takes us four hours because we’re constantly having to stop the car to prevent Rhys from choking,” said his mum Stacey, who lives in Oxley Park.
“It got to the point when I didn’t want to take him out in the car any more, not even to hospital appointments, despite his dad, Brad, sitting in the back with him and propping him up,” she added.
Stacey said the family “didn’t know where to turn to for help” until Rhys’s occupational therapist recommended Newlife charity and its Emergency Response Service.
The charity provides some of the region’s most vulnerable children with life-changing equipment when they urgently need it.
They ordered Rhys a specialist car seat the day the request was received.
Stacey said: “The seat keeps him fully supported and has drastically reduced the risk of choking. Most importantly the seat rotates and tilts so I’m able to quickly release him if he starts to choke.”
Noonan’s syndrome is a genetic condition that causes distinctive facial features and a range of health problems. Heart abnormalities are present in 80 per cent of cases.
Last year Newlife rescued 66 children from crisis situations across the South East region. This was increase on 65 per cent from the previous year.
To help other children in need of specialist equipment, donate to Newlife by calling 01543 431444 or online here.