Rice U. students develop "smart seat" for toddlers - My9 New Jersey

Rice U. students develop "smart seat" for toddlers

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

As the weather continues to warm up, things can turn dangerous for children. Earlier this month, a Clarkston toddler died after being trapped in a hot vehicle. Investigators believe the 2-year old may have crawled into the car after a door was left open. It was an hour before family members found her and she died later at the hospital. Since 2010, seven children in Georgia have died of heatstroke after being left unattended in cars.

Unfortunately, increased awareness alone isn't enough to prevent these tragedies. Now some students at Rice University in Houston are working on a monitoring device that connects to the car seat and could help save young lives.

It only takes minutes for a car to heat up to lethal temperatures. For three hours, a Houston, Texas one- year old known as Ray Ray slowly suffered, strapped in her car seat in the blistering heat. Late to work, Ray Ray's doting dad went on autopilot and forgot to drop her off at daycare. She never made it out alive. "He lives in his own personal hell nearly every minute of every day. And that's worse punishment than jail time, a fine, community service," explains Kristie Cavalier, Ray Ray's mother.

On the engineering floor at Rice University, in Houston a group of student believes their "smart" car seat shouldn't be dismissed.

"It's an accessory you can put on any car seat and it's able to alert the parent they've left their baby in the car," says Rice University student Margaret Dieudonne.

Parents can add as many phone numbers to the device as they want, and when the car is stopped for more than three minutes, they'll get a text message to check on their child. Lights also flash to get the attention of anyone passing by.

Until now, government studies have determined parent reminder devices aren't reliable because of signal problems and misuse. "A lot of the previous devices were difficult for users to use and we think because our device is portable and able to place on diff car seats, and is easy for user to install and use we think it will be a very easily accessed product.," adds student Meng Wei Ni.

A built-in cooling system is also designed with this seat, to keep the child's temperature down until help arrives. The students hope each year, they can continue to fine tune the device and hopefully one day make it standard in all child car seats.

Next week, Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal will help get the word out at the capitol about their new campaign, "Look Again." It works to remind parents, caregivers and the rest of the public about the dangers of leaving children alone in vehicles.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Casting Call: August 27

    Casting Call: August 27

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:42:30 GMT
    Check out the Good Day Atlanta Casting Call for the week of August 27.
    Check out the Good Day Atlanta Casting Call for the week of August 27.
  • Good Day Atlanta

    From bean to cup: Inside Smyrna's Rev Coffee Roasters

    From bean to cup: Inside Smyrna's Rev Coffee Roasters

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:02 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:02:31 GMT
    If you're idea of a good cup of coffee is something strong from the old one-cup in your kitchen, it's time for a coffee education!
    If you're idea of a good cup of coffee is something strong from the old one-cup in your kitchen, it's time for a coffee education!
  • Nonprofit pairs shelter dogs with jail inmates

    Nonprofit pairs shelter dogs with jail inmates

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:24 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:24:57 GMT
    There is a program giving inmates and dogs a second chance. Canine Cellmates saves dogs from being euthanized and pairs them up with inmates at the Fulton County Jail.
    There is a program giving inmates and dogs a second chance. Canine Cellmates saves dogs from being euthanized and pairs them up with inmates at the Fulton County Jail.
  • Katie Beasley's storiesMore>>

  • SKYFOX Traffic

    Tips for navigating around Georgia Dome traffic

    Tips for navigating around Georgia Dome traffic

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:16 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:16:27 GMT
    For the next three years, if you plan to be anywhere near the Georgia Dome, expect delays and plan ahead. That's the word from officials as we head into fall, the Dome's busiest time of the year.
    For the next three years, if you plan to be anywhere near the Georgia Dome, expect delays and plan ahead. That's the word from officials as we head into fall, the Dome's busiest time of the year.
  • SKYFOX Traffic

    Small windshield crack could cause big problems

    Small windshield crack could cause big problems

    Thursday, August 14 2014 9:18 AM EDT2014-08-14 13:18:04 GMT
    It's one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. We're not talking about tires or your steering wheel, we're talking about your windshield.
    It's one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. We're not talking about tires or your steering wheel, we're talking about your windshield.
  • Atlanta Beltline celebrates success

    Atlanta Beltline celebrates success

    Thursday, August 7 2014 8:14 AM EDT2014-08-07 12:14:51 GMT
    It started as an idea 15 years ago, now the Atlanta Beltline is a huge success, users say. This summer an international panel awarded it the grand prize for "Best Rehabilitation Project" across the globe.
    It started as an idea 15 years ago, now the Atlanta Beltline is a huge success, users say. This summer an international panel awarded it the grand prize for "Best Rehabilitation Project" across the globe.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices