Teen Develops Technology to Prevent Hot Car Deaths

Jun 20, 2017

Thirty-nine children died of heatstroke last year, as a result of being left in a hot car. That’s thirty-nine deaths that could have been avoided; now, a teen and several dads have developed products to ensure that no child is left unattended in a hot car.

Every summer, I see people take to social media to express their outrage when the news reports that a baby was left in a hot car. Most often, people rush to call the parents incompetent, or openly question how a parent could ever forget their child in the car. I, however, can understand how such a mistake could happen.

Lack of Sleep Could be to Blame

After the second time I’d forgotten to buckle my infant’s car seat into the car, I knew that I needed help to get both my son and myself some sleep. At eight months, apart from two six-hour fluke nights, my son was sleeping in two hour clips, three, if I was lucky. Eight months is a long time to go without more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep, and it was taking its toll on me, even becoming dangerous.

Delirious, I was calling my husband at work at least once a week and breaking down into tears. I tried to put the coffee pot in the refrigerator on more than one occasion, and even bemoaned the fact that I had misplaced my cell phone... while on my cell phone with my husband. Forgetting to buckle my son’s car seat into the car was the wake-up call I needed, and we hired a pediatric sleep consultant to work with us.

Apps Can Help Prevent Heat Stroke Deaths

Even if you are not sleep deprived, parents can always use some extra support when it comes to caring for their children. Preventing heat stroke is one parenting area that there are a few apps that you may want to consider now that the weather if getting warmer.

Baby Hot Seat, the brainchild of teen Alissa Chavez, was initially developed as science fair project when she was an eighth-grader; now 19, Chavez’s patented device, funded by a very successful Indiegogo campaign, is available to help forgetful parents.

A two-part system, Baby Hot Seat is comprised of a sensor pad, placed in a car seat or booster, and an app for the caregiver’s phone. If the sensor detects a child in the seat, and the cell phone moves twenty or more feet away, an alarm will sound, alerting the parent. Chavez hopes her product can eradicate accidental hot car deaths.

Another product aimed at preventing hot car tragedies is the Precious Cargo app, developed by North Carolina dad, Shaun Johnston. The 99-cent app pairs with your vehicle’s Bluetooth and cell phone, to provide a reminder about your precious cargo. When you start your car, the app will ask you if you’re traveling with precious cargo; answer “yes”, and you’ll be sent a reminder alert when you turn the engine off. The best part of the Precious Cargo app is that it will still alert you when a phone is set to silent, or you’re on a phone call.

Another dad-developed hot car invention is Sense-A-Life. Developed by Tampa dads, Jim Friedman and Fadi Shamma, Sense-A-Life is the result of a neighborly conversation about recent hot car deaths.

Utilizing two seat sensors, one under the driver’s seat and the other in the car seat, Sense-A-Life sends both an audible and text alert to the driver’s phone, saying “Please remove the child from the seat.” If the adult fails to remove the child from the seat within a few minutes, another alert is sent. Touting quick installation (under 30 seconds) and wireless accessories, Sense-A-Life may be the easiest hot car technology for parents and caregivers to work with.

Technology is grand, and these folks are putting it to good use! And the next time you hear of a hot car death, take a moment to remember how frazzled and scattered your own mind was when your babies were infants.