With more than 5000 children rescued after being left alone in cars every year in Australia, and the death of a child in a hot car once every eight days in the the US, two enterprising dads knew that something needed to be done.
Neighbours Fadi Shamma and Jim Friedman from Florida were horrified when yet another child in their home state died from being left in a hot car, and decided to invent a device that would prevent further deaths. They say their finished product should be installed in every car.
Combining their engineering and medical backgrounds, the pair collaborated on the Sense a Life child car monitor, which alerts the responsible adult, or a back-up emergency contact, that a child has been left in the car.
It has no wiring and is easily installed, and the location of the child can be monitored by a parent even if he or she is in the care of someone else. It's a two-piece system where a sensor disc is placed under the child in the seat, with a bluetooth sensor placed under the driver's seat. It doesn't need to be plugged in or switched on, which reduces the possibility of user error.
The Sense a Life first sets an alarm for each time the driver side door is opened. If that fails, a message is sent to the user's smartphone. If the child is not removed from the seat within a minute, it will send a mobile alert to an emergency contact that parents designate.
The battery needs to be charged every two to three months with plenty of warning given when the battery hits 25 per cent capacity.
Shamma and Friedman are also trying to make devices like the Sense a Life mandatory in all new cars, and hope that the device will be a standard feature of future models of child car seats.
"If it saves one life, I'm happy," Shamma told ABC Action News.
There's a crowdfunding campaign that's only $5000 away from its goal of $20,000, but the product has been fully tested and is completely ready for market.