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This year, the Barbie brand is continuing its mission of inclusivity with the introduction of a new Chelsea doll. This time Barbie’s 7-year-old little sister wears a back brace and has scoliosis.
According to the Division of Orthopedics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, more than 100,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with this condition each year. The new Chelsea doll aims to normalize back braces for those who may wear them, and encourage children who don’t to celebrate inclusion.
Barbie worked closely with board-certified neurosurgeon and specialist in children’s complex spinal disorders Dr. Luke Macyszyn, to ensure the new doll was as accurate as possible. As a result, the Chelsea doll with scoliosis has a curvature in her spine and an adjustable back brace that can be removed.
“As a neurosurgeon focusing on complex spinal disorders, I was honored to work with Barbie on the development of the Chelsea with scoliosis doll and ensure the accuracy of her shape and spinal alignment,” Macyszyn said in a statement. “This doll is an amazing example of representation for young children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with scoliosis or wearing a back brace, and I look forward to seeing it on shelves.”
Chelsea debuted as a little sister to Barbie and the youngest of the Roberts sisters in 2011. Mattel says she “helps younger consumers imagine stories that connect them to ‘real world’ play through fun and nurturing in a small doll scale.” Mattel says that like Barbie, Chelsea also has her own house, car and camper and also imagines herself in a variety of careers, just like her big sister.
This marks a significant step for the Barbie brand on its journey towards increased representation by adding more looks and sparking imagination among young people. The doll is available now on Amazon, Walmart, Target, Mattel.com and other retailers for just $7.99.