Infant SOS lets car seats save children left alone in hot cars
Every year a lot of kids die of heat strokes after being left alone inside hot cars. According to nonprofit safety group Kids and Cars, since 1990 about 600 U.S. children have been subject to this preventable death. In order to counter this unnoticed tragedy, graduation students at the Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen have developed a new type of car seat accessory for kids, which protects infants when they are left alone in potentially dangerous hot cars. The Infant SOS car seat notifies parents and caregivers with flashing LEDs, message alerts and alarm.
Designed and developed by Audrey Clayton, Rachel Wang, Jason Fang, Ralph LaFrance and Ge You, the Infant SOS is a device that can be fitted into any standard car seat to provide auditory, visual and text alerts when it senses danger. The device with built-in sensors can detect when car is in movement and when it is parked. It can also sense the rise in temperature in the car. When the device senses the car at a halt, with the child in the car seat, it triggers the response mechanism in 30 seconds. It begins with visual alerts, flashing LED lights lined around the car seat. Post five minutes it triggers an alarm for audio alert. If still the infant is not removed from the seat, the Infant SOS sends text alert to the parents and caregiver – about 10 people can be configured to receive messages from the device.
In addition to the primary alert mechanism, the car seat can also be introduced to a cooling system by the new safety device. The passive cooling system keeps the kid’s core temperature below the critical temperature (marked at 104 degrees Fahrenheit). The cooling system acts as an emergency backup if emergency responders take long to remove the infant from the seat. The device works as a cooling mechanism by absorbing heat from the environment and the baby, keeping the infant cool. Infant SOS project is being funded by Mamoru Enterprises LLC. founder Dr. Susan Baldwin who’s patient nearly lost her child in an overheated car.