Every summer, we read the devastating headlines about children who have died from heat exposure after being forgotten or left in cars.
A year ago, when Nashville middle-schooler Andrew Pelham was only 11 years old, he heard about a woman who accidentally left 10-month-old baby in her van. “The child died,” he recalled.
“When I did some research, I learned that a child can be killed in less than 15 minutes in a hot car,” he told UpTV. “Pediatrics reported that 38 children are killed this way every year. I also remembered a local family who lost their baby who was asleep in the back seat last year. I couldn’t get that story out of my mind.”
Andrew, who has always loved inventing and creating things with his own hands, decided to take action in order to prevent other parents from ever making this horrible mistake.
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With some rubber bands and duct tape, the young inventor came up with the EZ Baby Saver. This bungee-like contraption hooks onto the driver’s door and the seat back, locking the driver in the car unless the device is unhooked. The idea is that it forces parents to check the backseat for their child before walking away from their vehicle.
No one thinks they’ll ever forget a child in the car, but as New York Magazine points out, our memories aren’t always so reliable: “The device does tap into some behavioral truths, because experts who study these tragedies say you can’t simply will yourself into remembering something.” In that sense, having a bright colorful cord that prevents you from leaving your car is like tying a string on your finger — it acts as a reminder.
The EZ Baby Saver, which won second place in the The Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors, is easy enough for you to make yourself (Andrew put the simple instructions on his website).
As Andrew, who is now 12, told UpTV, “If I could prevent just one tragedy, then my invention would be a success.”
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