Society

New Device Prevents Child Deaths In Overheated Cars

| by Simone Stover

Two Florida men have created a device that they hope will prevent children from dying in hot cars. Fadi Shamma and Jim Friedman have dubbed their invention "Sense A Life," which is designed to alert parents when they have left their child alone in a car.

Hot car-related deaths among children have become a concern in the United States in recent years. Since 1998, an average of 37 children per year have died from being left alone in a hot car, reports KidsAndCars.org.

And it doesn't take long for such deaths to occur; temperatures can spike drastically in as little as 20 minutes, according to CNN. 

In fact, just two months into 2017, there has already been at least one heat-related death. On Feb. 28, a 2-year-old boy was found dead in an SUV in Brandon, Florida, after being left alone for several hours, reports WFTS. 

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Shamma and Friedman were motivated by this story to do something to prevent such deaths from occurring in the future. Their solution was to create the Sense A Life system, which consists of a foam disc and a bluetooth sensor. To set up the system, the disc is placed in the child's car seat and the sensor is placed under the front seat.

This system has several different triggers to inform a parent that they have left their child in the car. As soon as the parent exits the car, an alarm notifies them that their child is still in the vehicle. If the parent closes the front door, an alert is sent to the parent's cell phone. Finally, if the parent does not retrieve their child within the next minute, another cell-phone alert is sent, this time to a predesignated emergency contact. 

Even with the creation of the device, Shamma and Friedman still want to do more to remedy this problem. The two men are working in conjunction with KidsAndCars.org to push for this issue to be addressed by lawmakers. 

Such action is already underway. According to KidsAndCars.org, in September 2016, U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, Peter King, and Jan Schakowsky introduced the HOT CARS Act of 2016. If passed, this piece of legislation would have far-reaching implications, requiring all newly manufactured vehicles to have some sort of technology to prevent drivers from leaving children alone in the car.

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For Shamma and Friedman, however, the Sense A Life system doesn't need to end up having a far reach for them to reach their goal.

"If it saves just one life, I'm happy," Shamma told WFTS. "Just one life is worth all that we're doing."

Sources: KidsAndCars.org (2), CNN, WFTS (2) / Photo credit: Jim Champion/Flickr

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