12-Year-Old Wins $20,000 for Invention That Prevents Hot Car Deaths
In the summertime, you might be seeing more news of children and pets either knowingly or unknowingly left behind in hot cars by family members or caregivers suffering heat stroke and dying. Reportedly, an average of 39 children die every year inside a hot car, and in 2019, that number was 52.
One smart 12-year-old-girl from North Carolina, who wanted to put an end to these devastating events, has created an invention of a car seat device that detects when children have been left behind in a hot car, and her device won her a $20,000 at the CITGO’s Fueling Education Student Challenge.
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After seeing the incidents, she wanted to help
In an interview with People, Lydia Denton stated she decided to create the invention after watching the news and seeing babies left behind in hot cars accidentally. "I did some research and saw that it happened a lot and that it wasn't just neglectful parents," she said. "I got really upset and wanted to try and help."
"At first, I thought about raising money for the families, but that wouldn’t fix the problem. I wanted to invent something that could prevent the deaths from happening."
Creating an affordable device for families
So that's how she got to work. Lydia wanted to create an affordable device that can reach more people than the expensive newer vehicles that come with smart seat systems.
Also, she wanted her device to be transferable from car seat to car seat since babies grow quickly.
How does it work?
After some brainstorming, Lydia was able to create the prototype of "Beat The Heat Car Seat." Her invention works through a pressure pad under the car seat cover.
This part can sense weight over 5 lbs, which means when a child is sitting there, the system will start itself and monitor the temperature in the car.
If or when the temperature surpasses 102 degrees, the seat sets off an alarm along with a warning on its display and texts the parent's phone. If the button is not reset by the parent within 60 seconds, the Arduino sends the car's location to emergency services.
The device reportedly works perfectly and they've tested the device with their local 911 center.
Her invention won her this year's CITGO Fueling Education Student Challenge; however, Lydia didn't think it would. "I was so excited. I didn't think I would win. So many kids invent so many things and I know that my ideas aren't always the best."
An inspiration for us all
Now, this smart and good-hearted girl is working with a mentor that teaches her about businesses so that she can manufacture her invention in the future. She hopes to sell it in a store one day and save babies, which is the most wholesome thing ever.
Lydia is surely an inspiration for us all, but she most specifically wants to reach more kids her age. "Don’t think that you have to accept things in the world. If there is something that bothers you, think of ways to make it better!"
You can watch her submission for the contest here: