Student hopes to prevent children being left in hot cars with new car seat

Click to play video: 'New car seat technology that aims to save kids’ lives showcased in Calgary'
New car seat technology that aims to save kids’ lives showcased in Calgary
WATCH: As temperatures begin to warm up in Calgary, there’s a renewed warning about the dangers of leaving your child inside a hot car — but new technology is trying to curb the possibility of a tragic outcome. Lauren Pullen reports. – Jun 4, 2019

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.

READ MORE: ‘Absolutely heartbreaking’: 16-month-old boy dies after being left in hot car for 9 hours in Burnaby

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.

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Chung installed three sensors that can send warnings to drivers and first responders if a child is left in a hot vehicle. Lauren Pullen/Global News

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.

WATCH: Kids in hot cars: How long does it take before it becomes deadly?

Click to play video: 'Kids in hot cars: How long does it take before it becomes deadly?'
Kids in hot cars: How long does it take before it becomes deadly?

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.

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“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.”

READ MORE: Why you shouldn’t smash the window when you see a dog in a hot car

A 16-month-old boy died in after being left inside a hot car in British Columbia in May.

A three-year-old also died in Edmonton back in 2013.

WATCH: Edmonton girl dies after being left in hot car

While there are apps and devices already on the market, Chung believes there’s nothing as extensive as this.

READ MORE: Tech could help parents prevent hot car deaths — but only in about half of cases, expert says

He hopes to see his device hit the market and potentially avert a tragedy.

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“It would be magnificent if it could really save lives,” he said.

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