For Bree Williams the lack of appropriate furniture for babies and children with hip dysplasia was incredibly frustrating when her daughter Elle was diagnosed at seven months old.
Elle's severe hip dysplasia diagnosis required her to undergo surgery in 2018. She spent three months in a hip spica cast and a further nine months using a brace following her surgery.
"They do all of these checks after the baby is born which includes checking for hip dysplasia and Elle passed all of these tests," Ms Williams said.
"When she started to commando crawl she was dragging one of her legs and I noticed that her hips would click."
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Ms Williams visited her GP in Port Macquarie in northern NSW and asked for further testing.
"It turned out her hip was completely dislocated which means it was quite severe hip dysplasia."
The lack of suitable furniture for her daughter spurred Ms Williams on to design and develop a table for children with hip dysplasia.
"The spica cast goes underneath their armpits and down to their ankles. It's like having a broken leg but it takes up their whole body.
"They can't fit in most things that babies usually fit in because of the cast.
"During Elle's 'hippy' journey, we were lucky to be given a second-hand table. It was bulky, bright, and well-used, but a table that nevertheless did the job. It kept Elle seated upright and happily playing with her toys. And gosh did it help me, those spica casts are heavy," Ms Williams said.
"I was confused and upset at the time that hip spica tables and other furniture for babies and children with hip dysplasia, were not readily available anywhere for sale. We were left to fend for ourselves with make-shift furniture that sat as eyesores in our homes."
hip & co was created to provide children and babies with furniture that fit their hip cast and hip braces.
"I feel that the reason people haven't made these spica tables commercially is because they're big wooden boxes and difficult to send around the country. What I thought was making it a flatpack and easy to assemble with no tools or screws needed," Ms Williams said.
"I also made it modern and fresh looking so that it fits in people's homes."
The table has three height configurations and open sides to allow children in casts of all sizes to use the table, wheels and brakes allow the table to be moved easily around the home and the front panel opens to accommodate siblings and friends.
hip & co was started in February and the first round of tables are being produced now.
Ms Williams hopes the businesses will also help raise awareness about hip dysplasia in children.
"The earlier you catch hip dysplasia, the better the outcome and the quicker the treatment is," she said.
"I think there needs to be more awareness around hip dysplasia and getting it checked."
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