By Marlana Ward
According to statistics compiled by Jan Null, Certified Consulting Meteorologist with the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State University (in the United States, there have been 26 hot car deaths thus far in 2014. The total number of heat related car deaths in the US since 1998 has been a staggering 632. In over half of these instances, a caregiver unintentionally forgot a child in the back seat. With their thermal regulatory systems not being as efficient as adults, children are at extreme risk of overheating when left enclosed in a car for even a short amount of time.
Inspired by continuing news reports of children being lost in preventable heat-related deaths, local science instructor, Mrs. Susan Quave, has designed a device that she hopes will help save lives by remedying this situation. Her device is a two-part system that reminds the driver of a vehicle that a child is in their car seat as well as alerts passersby when a child is in danger.
With her design, a specially equipped cushion would be placed in the drivers seat and a corresponding insert would be placed in the childs car seat. The weight of the driver would activate the safety system. Upon exiting the car, the driver hears a recorded message that says, Dont Forget Me. If the driver of a car has not taken the child out of their car seat within two minutes, a small fan on the seat turns on and an emergency beacon begins to flash. The beacon displays the words Child in Danger and is bright enough to be seen even in cars with tinted windows.
Quave teaches eighth grade science at JCMS. This design is her first foray into the world of inventions and patents. Her first step was to research products already on the market and determine a new and better way to solve the problem of heat related car deaths. My husband and I brainstormed several designs and then contacted the Invention Home website to present the idea, Quave explained.
After contacting lawyers to complete a patent search, Quave focused on how she wanted her device to work and sketched the original idea. She then worked with art designers to give the actual look of the product. She was able to complete a portfolio of her idea and submit it to the US Patent Office for review and the final provisional patent. She received her patent on August 11th.
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By Marlana Ward