Otteroo Floatie “Has Changed My Son’s Life,” Says Mom of Baby With SMA

In just one week of using an Otteroo, an infant diagnosed with SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) moved like he had never done before. We talked to Sarah Schwartz, the mother of 9-month-old, Lincoln about the life-changing results she observed. The shock could be heard in her voice as we talked about her son’s improvements.

Tell us how you discovered your son, Lincoln, had spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

When he was 2 weeks old I started noticing that he wasn’t really moving very well. By 4 weeks old, he had zero movement, like nothing. His arms just laid, like they just were completely dead, did nothing. So he was admitted. He got his first dose of Spinraza because they diagnosed him right away at 6 weeks old. We started seeing little tiny movements, like a finger would move, he’d wiggle a toe, something like that for months. He started, I want to say around 4 or 5 months old, to lift his arms up more, reaching for some toys here and there.

Why did you decide to buy an Otteroo for Lincoln?

He loved the bathtub, but he was always in one of those seats that are very constricting — they don’t really move. So, he would slap the water and that was it. So, I’ve always seen the neck floats and at first I was like, “Oh, that’s kind of scary,” because when you look at it’s scary. You have no idea what it does. So, I said, “You know what? I’m going to get one and I’m try it.” I bought it and I did my research. I researched everything and I saw that the Otteroo has the best ratings, the best design, everything. So, I said, “Yeah, I’m gonna get it.” Price didn’t matter. I didn’t care. I was getting it.

I just sat there crying for a good 45 minutes because I didn’t think I’d ever see him move the way he was moving.

What was his first experience like?

I used it the first night and I saw Lincoln move like … it’s going to bring me to tears right now (pause) … how much I saw him move in a matter of minutes; the change in him. He was twirling in the pool. He was putting himself in a curling position. He was reaching for toys. He was using both of his legs to kick out. I just sat there crying for a good 45 minutes because I didn’t think I’d ever see him move the way he was moving.

How often do you use it?

The next day I said to my husband, “You have to watch Lincoln in the tub,” and I put him in. My husband just stood there with his jaw on the ground because none of us have seen him move this way. So we told his therapist and she was like, “I’m sure he didn’t move that much.” So, we started doing this pretty much every night, putting him in the tub, filling the tub up, putting him in and he would move.

It is completely unheard of for an SMA Type I baby (to sit up), especially at this age. So, I am 100% putting all of that on your product.

You’ve noticed some pretty dramatic results.

In those few days we saw him breathing better. We saw him moving more and seeing his movements were stronger when he was out of the water and he was sleeping better. He just had this better attitude and I said, “I’m telling you, the only thing that we have changed this week is that Otteroo.” And it’s completely changed Lincoln and in only positive ways. I said something to another mom and she’s like, “Really, all of that because of a little plastic float?” And I said, “Yes, a little plastic float has changed Lincoln’s life. ” Now, every single night, he goes in the tub with his Otteroo and we have seen so much movement. He actually sat up by himself for 10 seconds yesterday.

Wow. Does your therapist believe you now?

It is completely unheard of for an SMA Type I baby (to sit up), especially at this age. So, I am 100% putting all of that on your product. I’ll probably buy 10 more so I always have them in case something happens because it’s seriously has been life-changing for Lincoln. For all of us, because he can sit up. A week ago he was barely doing anything except for sitting with total support around his body, me holding him. Ten seconds doesn’t sound like much, but for him it’s a huge deal. His therapist came by yesterday and she said, “This is a different child.”

He has so much mobility now in just a week and I’m telling you, it’s from the Otteroo. It really is.

What differences has your therapist noticed in their sessions? 

He was doing things that she’s been trying for months to get him to do. Like when he’s on his stomach, she does a lot of stuff on a yoga ball. She put him on his stomach and we’ve been really trying to get him to push his head up and lean back. He would never do it because he just didn’t have that strength. Yesterday, she put him on it. She put his arms down and he lifted his head completely up and stayed there looking around at everything and she just … you could see tears in her eyes. She was like, “Oh my goodness. Look at him. Look at him. This is … I’m not doing this at all.” Because a lot of things she does, she’ll support him, but she’s like, “This is all him. This is all him.”

How did Lincoln respond?

He was smiling. He was having a great time doing it, where usually, when she’s trying to work with him, he is hysterical because everything is just so tight. He’s just … the way he’s moving has this lightness, I don’t even know if that’s the right way to word that – lightness. He’s moving like a regular baby, I guess is the best way to put it. I mean, it’s literally incredible to see how much he’s improved in just that short amount of time. So that’s why I’m like, whatever you want me to do, I will, because your product has seriously changed my son’s life. Right now, I’m seeing things I didn’t think was possible 6 months ago, 7 months ago, 8 months ago.

That has to make you feel good.

Your product has made my life easier and his. He has so much mobility now in just a week and I’m telling you, it’s from the Otteroo. It really is. I get excited for bath time. I used to be like, “Ugh, bath is such a pain,” but I get excited now because I know how much he loves it, how good he feels after, how good he feels during, and then for the entire next day, how much more movement he has from it. It’s great. It’s so great. I mean every parent should have one, especially with SMA. They really should.

Julie Forbes

Julie Forbes

Julie Kroenig Forbes graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She spent the next 10 years working as a news anchor and reporter in various cities, most recently in Nashville, Tennessee. After a few years in Northern California and New York, she now lives in Ohio with her husband and four kids.
Julie Forbes

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