Topeka toddler celebrates ‘Sweet 16’ at 16 months old

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) –A Topeka toddler is 16 months going on 16, he’s already driving, and it’s a in a car specially made just for him.

His bright green jeep looks just like any Power Wheels one you’ll find at the store, but his was specially modified for him by engineers at the Madonna’s Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering. A rehab facility in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Carter’s been visiting since he was born.

“He had what is called an anoxia brain injury which basically means that he just went without oxygen for a long period of time,” said Katy Brown, Carter’s mom. Carter’s parents then had to face the reality of not knowing whether their little boy would survive. Through rehab and a lot of physical therapy he has defied all the odds against him, “Every time he smiles is very heartwarming,” said Carter’s mom. “Because we weren’t sure that, that was ever going to be a possibility for us.”

“He’s happy, he smiles, he squeals, he laughs,” said Chris Brown, Carter’s dad. “Now as far as his actual skills, walking or sitting, or crawling, we haven’t seen any of that yet.” Now, his parent’s hope is that this jeep will push him to want to move, “And want to have that independent movement and explore he world and all that.”

Carter has the option of being in control of making his jeep go. Instead of a horn, his steering wheel has a go button. Or he can just sit back and cruise and let mom and dad take over with a custom made remote control.

An early birthday present for Carter who just turned 16 months on Thursday, “Yeah, that was the big deal supposed to be a sweet 16 car, but he gets it at 16 months,” Carter’s dad said. “But he deserves to be spoiled, he works so hard, goes to therapy every single day so we love making him happy and giving him whatever he wants.”

His dad said when Carter turns 16, they’re going back to the rehab hospital in Lincoln and asking if they’ll be paying for his actual car.

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