Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Grant Bevill

Second Advisor

Dr. Juan Aceros

Rights Statement


Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Lundy


Modified battery-powered ride-on toy cars, or adaptive ride-on toys, represent novel rehabilitation tools and developmental aids for children with disabilities. Studies have shown that children are benefiting socially and developmentally from their use. However, the use of these toys by children with disabilities potentially poses a risk of injury and it is vitally important to ensure the safe use of these toys, particularly for the benefit of those with developmental challenges.

Within this context, the purpose of the first study was to determine whether modifications to ride-on toys are sufficient to prevent common modes of injury such as falls, passenger excursion, and impact with the interior of the vehicle using an average six-year-old test dummy. Because the population of children with disabilities who are receiving adaptive ride-on toys ha a wide range of mobility impairments and may suffer from a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders, those with both decreased and increased muscle stiffness were considered in the second study. In both studies, safety modifications sufficiently reduced risk of primary injury mechanisms with little-to-no added risk.

These studies are significant due to lack of research in the field of safety of pediatric rehabilitative devices, specifically adaptive ride-on toys. The proven success of these rehabilitative programs further shows these studies are a valuable tool intended to better equip pediatric care providers with knowledge on the safety of car modifications. Furthermore, the findings of these studies support the growth of adaptive ride-on toy programs to increase rehabilitation opportunities for children with disabilities.