An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University alum and restaurant owner has patented a device to prevent hot car deaths.
The device, called the Child Car Seat Safety System, features a weight sensor that will activate once it detects a child has been placed in their car seat. After the driver gets into the vehicle, the device will connect to their phone through Bluetooth.
In the event that the driver fails to remove the child from the car seat when the driver leaves the vehicle, an alert message will be sent to their smartphone. Should the child remain in the sweltering car, another message will be sent to authorities. Decisions regarding what distance or temperature will trigger the alert have yet to be determined.
The 46-year-old inventor, Ibrahim Mahmoud, who has five children ages 5 to 14, said he seeks to reduce the troubling number of kids who perish in hot cars.
“I think about it and it makes me sick to my stomach,” he said.
In 2019, 53 children nationwide died in hot cars, according to KidsandCars.org, a nonprofit child safety organization.
The most recent case in the area happened five years ago, when a 6-month-old boy was found dead inside an SUV parked at Deltona Middle School. The baby had been left in the care of a teacher at the school, who forgot to remove him from the backseat.
Mahmoud said he was disturbed by the number of fatalities, noting that it led him to question: “Why can’t we do something about it?”
Two years ago, he did. The local business owner, who oversees beachside restaurants New York Pizza and Angelo’s Pizza House, set aside time to develop the device, which took almost a year to design.
In December, he received the patent for his invention.
Mahmoud stressed that parents and caretakers can avoid devastating mistakes with the use of the Child Car Seat Safety System. He noted that a 10-minute trip to the grocery store to pick up ground coffee could result in the death of a child. A message from the device would remind them to return to the car.
Other tragedies, including vehicle-related crimes, can also be prevented with the device.
Mahmoud said the Child Car Seat Safety System will prevent children from being abducted during car thefts. The device features a GPS locator that will allow authorities to track down the child in the car seat.
“It’s going to save lives,” he said. “It’s going to give families peace of mind.”