Why are belt canes free?

Raison d’etre. Pediatric belt canes dramatically improve the lives of children who are mobility visually impaired or blind (MVI/B). However, there is a great deal of ink used by theoretical and research publications in early childhood textbooks, scholarly journals, and family-directed publications; and countless training hours at universities, workshops, conferences, and in videos to promote the importance of urging blind babies to learn how to walk “freely”, meaning without holding a hand and without a mobility tool, in short, unsafely.

The need for path information is understood by sighted people, for themselves. When I cannot see, I turn on the lights, clean the windshield, or put on glasses. Somehow, through the ages, there has existed an asterisk, the suggestion that when you are blind, you benefit from the same collisions that sighted people avoid by turning on the lights.

Suggesting that blind babies are physically and emotionally different from sighted babies. They are not.

There is an adage that goes, "blind babies are the same as sighted babies because they both collide with their world, and these little collisions are mild and kids don't seem to mind them". Safe Toddles debunks that false comparison with logic.

Blind babies are harmed by collisions, even those considered mild, aka simple object contacts, because they cannot see it coming. Nor can they look back to evaluate the cause of the collision. They cannot learn to visually avoid collisions, brace themselves, or slow down and veer; because they cannot see them. They learn only to fear walking.

Safe Toddles pediatric belt canes are not just a mobility tool, they are an important source of information that allows children with MVI/B to learn from impacts with objects. We have seen the positive outcomes of path information in children as young as 15 months.

In order to change centuries of belief requires easy access to these canes. We must give these canes away for free to accelerate the adoption of a kinder, gentler approach to child rearing and therapy practices for children born MVI/B. Collisions cause developmental delay – see below figure.

With your help we can do more.

Action outcomes compared with or without a cane frame.

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