As temperatures finally warm up in Calgary and around the country, a teenager is hoping his invention could prevent children from being left in hot cars and the often fatal consequences of those incidents.
“I believe that prevention is always possible,” 17-year-old Joseph Chung said.
At first glance, Chung’s prototype doesn’t look like much more than a cardboard cutout. But all powered up, it’s a car seat that has the potential to save kids’ lives.
The ‘Smart E Saver’ uses three sensors to make sure no child is left behind in a vehicle.
“It detects the body heat, the movement and the weight of the child,” Chung said.
Chung said the system includes an infrared temperature monitor, a motion sensor and a pressure pad which would detect the weight of the child.
If a child is left in a vehicle, the seat sends a series of alerts.
First, an alarm built into the car seat sounds. Then the E Saver uses Bluetooth to send a text message notification to the driver. If no action is taken, the car’s alarm is triggered. If there’s still no response, GPS coordinates are sent to emergency crews.
Chung says the technology netted him a national innovation award in his home country of Malaysia. He brought the Smart E Saver overseas for the first time to display it at the Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals conference in Calgary.
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Calgary paramedics get calls every summer for kids left in hot cars. Although these incidents are rare, emergency officials say even one is too many and the outcome can be catastrophic.
“Any additional trigger that will help a parent or caregiver will be of benefit,” Calgary EMS spokesperson Stuart Brideaux said.
“Even a 20-degree day – not necessarily a hot day — in a vehicle with the windows up, within an hour the temperature could double to in excess of 40 C,” Brideaux added. “Much of that heat rise happens in the first half hour, so if a child is left in that environment for a fraction of that time it can be a life-threatening emergency.”
A three-year-old also died in Edmonton back in 2013.
While there are apps and devices already on the market, Chung believes there’s nothing as extensive as this.
He hopes to see his device hit the market and potentially avert a tragedy.
“It would be magnificent if it could really save lives,” he said.