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Children left in hot cars: 11 year old boy invention could save lives

According to a study by San Francisco State University* in 2013 there were at least 44 deaths to infants and children attributed to leaving a child in a hot car. In 2014 13 deaths have been reported but a number of others are still under investigation. An 11 year old enterprising young many found out about one such death in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee and decided to put his invention skills to work to hopefully find a way to stop this from happening.

Andrew Pelham is 11 years old and he read this story about a 5 month old baby's death from heatstroke after being left in a hot car. He entered the Rubber Band Contest for inventors and created the EZ Baby Saver, an invention which took second place and won him $500. It may win more than that if it saves a child's life.

"I'm hoping if I can save one life with my invention, I can say that my invention was successful," Andrew told Nashville's News 2.

Pelham took his money and bought a laptop and created his website where you can get instructions on how to create your own E-Z Baby Saver. The E-Z BabySaver is easy to make using items you have in your home, rubber bands and duct tape. He says instead of selling them he wanted to create an opportunity so that anyone could learn how to save their children from death,

The EZ Baby Saver is a tool to help people remember, ESPECIALLY when the routine changes, when a child is sleeping or facing the rear, or when a car is driven by grandparents or caregivers. People say it would also be great for pet owners.

After creating your EZ Baby Saver you attach it to a back seat door handle, or head rest and then stretch it to the door handle of the driver or or passenger door when you get in. This way you have to remove it to get out of the car and since it's attached to the backseat it reminds you that there is someone else strapped in too.

CNET reports "It's no stretch: Kid's rubber band gizmo could save lives."

Pelham isn't the only one trying to stop these deaths. Safe Kids with the help of the General Motors Foundation created the Never Leave Your Child Alone in A Car program. Remember the word ACT.

• A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.

• C: Create reminders by putting something on the backseat of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

• T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

Additional prevention information can be found at www.safekids.org/heatstroke, and statistics on child heatstroke deaths can be found at www.ggweather.com/heat.

Here in Houston electrical engineer Rocco De Grazia introduced the Car-Eye at the 2014 Houston Hackathon. Find out more about the hardware and software behind the car eye here.

According to San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences it could be 80 degrees outside, but in just 60 minutes the inside of a car can reach a temperature of 123 degrees. They also state that, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200 degrees F. Children are particularly susceptible to heat stroke as their body temperature heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adults.

Need more tips to remember your child is in the backseat?

  • Place a teddy bear in the passenger seat with your purse or briefcase. When you reach for your purse or bag seeing the teddy bear reminds you of children in the car.
  • Turn off your phone when you are driving. This way you aren't on it when you get out of the car and won't be distracted.
  • Print out these posters from SafeKids to place on your dashboard, console or glove box to remind you of the dangers of leaving your child in a car.
  • Remember lowering a window does not make it safer.

Most importantly Slow DOWN. Changes in schedules happen. Slow down and take extra time on those mornings so you don't feel so rushed or stressed.

Source: San Francisco State University