Speed Reads

great inventions

High school students design car seat attachment to use with a wheelchair

When drama teacher Chelsie King asked students at her school to come up with a way for her husband to go around the block in his wheelchair with their newborn, they were up for the challenge. 

King's husband, Jeremy, underwent brain surgery for a tumor three years ago, and since then it has been difficult for him to keep his balance. He wanted to be able to safely hold his baby, but "there's just really not a ton of resources out there for disabled parents," Chelsie told Good Morning America. She works at the Bullis School in Germantown, Maryland, and asked her colleague Matt Zigler, who teaches the "Making for Social Good" class, for assistance.

In this course, students design products to help people, and the 10 high schoolers were excited to come up with something that could attach to the wheelchair Jeremy uses. They spoke with the Kings about their needs, conducted research on infant car seats and how they are installed, and then drafted 3D models of their designs. "I really feel the students took all my concerns to heart when creating the prototypes," Jeremy said. Two projects were selected for the students to make — one that connected an infant car seat to Jeremy's wheelchair and another that attaches an entire stroller to the wheelchair.

"Children grow and they grow out of a car seat, so we wanted Mr. King to be able to walk with his son no matter what age he was," student Jacob Zlotnitsky told GMA. When they were done making the attachments, the students put the instructions online, to help even more people. They finished just before Chelsie gave birth to a son, Phoenix, in March. A few weeks later, the Kings went out with the car seat attachment, and found it worked perfectly. The students were excited to learn that their creation was a hit. "I feel fortunate to have been able to take a class that has allowed me to truly make a difference in someone's life," Zlotnitsky said.