We've all heard the tragic stories of a child being left in a hot car, and the horrifying results. On average in the United States, 40 children die each year, left in hot cars. Due to the combination of hot summer temperatures, and the notorious lack of shade in most parking lots - the temperature inside a car can heat up from a safe temperature to 94.3 in just two minutes. After an hour, the inside of a car could be 123 degrees, on just an 80 degree day. Albuquerque, New Mexico high school student Alissa Chavez (17), has invented a device to alert parents if their baby is left in the car. Heartbroken over news of children left to die in their car seats, Alissa set out to create an effective warning system. Her design includes a pad that slips into the seat of an infant or child car seat, which detects both the weight of a child and increased heat levels. If the seat starts to get hot, an alarm goes off on a key fob, on your cell phone via a related app, and in your car to alert passersby.
The project started as an eighth grade science fair project that took her to regional and state level competitions. Since then she's been working with engineers to perfect the design, and now a prototype for the product she calls the "Hot Seat".
Funds for development are being raised with crowdfunding source, Indigogo, which as of this writing, has well-exceeded the $5,000 goal with a total of nearly $14,000. Alissa hopes to launch the prototype by the end of this summer.
Watch a brief video of Alissa's presentation here.
For some, it's hard to believe that a parent or caregiver could forget about their child inside a car, but something as simple as a change in one's daily routine can throw off simple memory cues, like dropping of your child at day care. Until the Hot Seat is available nation wide, it's recommended to put something you need, like the left shoe you're wearing, or purse or cell phone in the back seat with the baby so you'll always be reminded.