Toddler Crawling Positioner

Designers: Kerry Marder and Emily Kloeblen
Client Coordinators: Susan Attermeier, Physical Therapist
Supervising Professor: Dr. Larry N. Bohs

Our client was a 2 year-old girl with athetoid cerebral palsy. To build head and neck strength, her parents and therapist wanted a device that would support her in a prone position, which she could tolerate, and would also allow her to crawl. The Toddler Crawling Positioner allows the client to be supported at a maximum angle of 45 degrees, which she can currently tolerate, down to 0 degrees, which will allow her to crawl once she builds adequate strength. The device adjusts to accommodate the client’s growth, and is decorated with an Elmo motif fabric, which appeals to her.

How this project helped
The Toddler Crawling Positioner will help the client develop strength by providing greater variety in therapy sessions.  The client’s mother noted that “It is an achievement in itself to have her happy in an assistive device. She seems to tolerate it just fine, which is remarkable.”

The Toddler Crawling Positioner (Figures 1 & 2) includes a base, adjustment bar, connector piece, pommel, and torso support.

The base is composed of 5 extruded aluminum segments; four 2”x2”x12” square tubes comprising the legs, each coming off of the 2”x2”x28” spine at 60 degrees. The legs are outfitted with swivel caster wheels attached via lock collars and the spine is designed to mate with the adjustment bar. The entire base has been anodized in red and gold colors to give it vibrant, lasting color.

The adjustment bar connects the base with the torso support and is the mechanism for angle adjustment. It mates with the base via rounded teeth which oppose the load of the client, therefore locking it into place and eliminating the risk of becoming dislodged while the client is in the device.

The base is also connected to the torso support via the connector piece. This piece is a 2” by 13” extruded aluminum channel, fixed to the base by a pin joint and to the underside of the torso support by three wood screws. The connector piece also accommodates the pommel via a 0.25” wide milling, which allows for vertical adjustment of the pommel. The pommel is made of high-density closed cell foam over steel tubing, and is adjusted via a wing nut and bolt through the connector.

The torso support is made of a hardwood frame, upholstered with foam and waterproof vinyl. It is comprised of three pieces, connected via width-adjustable brackets and thumbscrews. Also provided are three sets of colorful, pre-washed Elmo-themed cover sheets to increase aesthetic appeal.  The cost of parts for the Toddler Crawling Positioner was approximately $300.

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