DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – 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 the car seat. After the driver gets into the vehicle, the device will connect to the driver’s phone through Bluetooth.
If the driver doesn’t remove the child from the car seat when leaving the vehicle, an alert message will be sent via smartphone. Should the child remain in the sweltering car, another message will be sent to authorities. 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 wants 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 where Mahmoud lives happened five years ago, when a 6-month-old boy was found dead inside an SUV parked at Deltona Middle School in Deltona, Fla. 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 fatalities, and asked himself, “Why can’t we do something about it?”
Two years ago, he did. The 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 said parents and caretakers can avoid devastating mistakes by using the Child Car Seat Safety System. He noted that a trip to the grocery store and a moment of forgetfulness could result in the death of a child. A message from the device would remind the driver to return to the car.
Other tragedies, including vehicle-related crimes, could also be prevented with the device.
Mahmoud said the Child Car Seat Safety System could prevent children from being abducted during car thefts. The device features a GPS locator that would 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.”