Ten-year-old Texas schoolboy invents device to stop babies dying in hot cars

Since 1998, at least 712 children have died of heatstroke in the US after being left in hot vehicles

Katie Forster
Tuesday 20 June 2017 08:13
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The schoolboy from McKinney in Texas hopes his invention will save lives
The schoolboy from McKinney in Texas hopes his invention will save lives

A 10-year-old boy from Texas has invented a gadget that could save the lives of young children accidentally left in hot cars.

Over the last two decades, at least 712 children left in vehicles have died of heatstroke in the US, according to a meteorologist who began tracking the preventable deaths in 1998.

Schoolboy Bishop Curry said he would spend his summer holidays developing his device – a small box with air ducts that blow cool air when it becomes too hot inside a car and an antenna that alerts parents and emergency services.

Bishop, from McKinney, a town 30 miles north of Dallas, told Fox News he has submitted a patent for his invention, which should be approved this year.

The schoolboy said he came up with the idea "when a baby named Fern died down the street" due to a hot car and he saw the story on the news.

Bishop and his family have a number of manufacturers lined up to build the device, which he has called the Oasis.

They have already raised more than $20,000 (£15,800) through a crowdfunding campaign to help fund its development.

The device, currently in the design stages, is called the Oasis

Bishop has built a model of his invention and will use the money raised to pay for prototypes and manufacturing.

"We live in Texas where hot car deaths are far too common," the boy's father, also called Bishop Curry, wrote on the GoFundMe page.

"Bishop already has a provisional patent and a 3D model of his invention".

He added: "Bishop is a 5th grader who is fascinated with making things. From creating a home-made catapult and ping pong ball cannon, to thinking of ways to melt ice and snow on roads without using salt."

The 10-year-old, who has a one-year-old sister, told NBC that "it would be a dream to have lots of inventions that would save many lives".

The box is designed to be latched on to a child's car seat.

Jan Null, a certified meteorologist and professor at San Jose State University, has remarked that the numbers of children dying in hot cars has remained steady over the last 19 years.

This could be due to a lack of awareness of the issue in the media and in local state laws, few of which have made leaving a child unattended in a car illegal, he told the Washington Post.

Three weeks ago, when temperatures hit 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) in north east Texas, two children were found dead in a hot car on Friday afternoon.

The 16-month-old boy and two-year-old girl were reportedly found locked inside a "small four-door vehicle", which they are said to have climbed into themselves.

Such cases are uncommon in the UK, where summer temperatures are generally milder. But a baby girl was found dead inside a car in Tipperary, Ireland on 26 May, reported Sky News.

The seven-month-old, who was reportedly left inside the vehicle on the warm day from when she was due to be dropped off at a creche in the morning until when her father returned to the car at lunchtime, was airlifted to hospital but did not survive.

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