Our project mission is to give medically fragile children wagons equipped with IV poles to grant them the opportunity to play and just be a kid.
Pediatric faculty members and students from Western Carolina University’s School of Nursing have come together to develop the WHEE Wagon Program. This program seeks to provide specially equipped IV Pole Radio Flyer wagons for children with medical need free of charge. Our team has witnessed the joy that a simple wagon ride can bring to a medically fragile child, and evidence shows that play can have a significant impact on pediatric health status. Our group feels it is vitally important that children who have complex health needs be able to enjoy the same experiences that other children do, and we feel a wagon ride is just the way to do this!
A WHEE Wagon is a just like a normal red wagon that kids ride and play in every day, but these wagons are specially equipped with an IV pole attached to the back. The IV pole attachment on the wagon ensures a hospitalized/medically fragile child can have the opportunity to transport IV medications, IV fluids, and other medical equipment, such as a feeding pump, with them. Rather than being stuck in a bed or wheelchair, a WHEE Wagon is a more engaging mode of transportation for a child. The wagons can be used while ill children play, are transported from unit to unit in a healthcare facility, or just when out and about at home (unfortunately, there are many kids who either go home on IV medications or who require chronic medical care). Both faculty and students at WCU’s School of Nursing believe WHEE Wagons will allow kids to reconnect with the normal everyday world of just being a child, at a time when they may feel cut off from the world due to acute or chronic illness. These WHEE Wagons, which, again, are given free of charge, could enrich the life of a specific medically fragile child through freedom of mobility and the basic joy of play. If the WHEE Wagon is donated to a facility, something as simple as a wagon ride could potentially touch the lives of hundreds of ill children.