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Barbie releases first-ever doll with scoliosis

Mattel has released a new Barbie doll with scoliosis (Mattel)
Mattel has released a new Barbie doll with scoliosis (Mattel)

Mattel, the makers of Barbie, has introduced its first-ever doll with scoliosis.

The toy company has launched its new Chelsea doll, who is Barbie’s little sister, with a curved spine and a removable back brace.

Citing the “power of representation”, the brand aims to normalise the equipment and encourage children to celebrate inclusion with its latest addition to the Barbie family.

Mattel worked closely with Dr Luke Macyszyn, a board-certified neurosurgeon and specialist in children’s complex spinal disorders, in order to develop the doll.

The new iteration of Chelsea measures six inches tall and wears a pink dress with a removable green back brace and white shoes. Her brown hair is styled in waves.

Scoliosis is characterised by the abnormal twisting and curvature of the spine. Symptoms include a visibly curved spine, one shoulder being higher than the other or one shoulder or hip being more prominent than the other, a prominent ribcage and a difference in leg lengths.

The condition can develop in any age, but is most common in children aged 10 to 15 years old, according to the NHS. In the UK, around three or four in every 1,000 children require treatment for scoliosis.

While treatment is not always necessary in children as the spine may improve naturally as they grow, bracing or casting may be used to stop the curve from progressing further.

Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel, said: “We believe in the power of representation and are committed to creating dolls in a variety of looks so that kids can see themselves in Barbie - and now in a line celebrating Barbie’s little sister, Chelsea.

“We’re proud to launch the first-ever Chelsea doll with a removable back brace to continue to be more reflective of the world kids see around them.

“Our Chelsea line provides infinitely more ways to spark storytelling, all while providing kids with a way to develop their empathy and social processing skills through doll play.”

Additional reporting by PA