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Prevention of Children Being Left in Hot Cars

by Stephen Barnes, MD

Too many children die from being left in hot cars- THIS IS PREVENTABLE!

Lafayette, LA Healthy Living

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About this project

The problem we solve:
Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in children and is the number one cause of non-crash, vehicle related death in children. Over half are from the child being forgotten in the car, and the majority are less than two years of age. As of May 2016 there has been six documented deaths, and nearly 700 deaths have occurred since 1998. Many national, state, and local campaigns are increasing awareness of these dangers. Many devices are available in an attempt to prevent hot car deaths, but the NHTSA concluded they are not reliable enough.
About our solution:
This solution to reduce the risk of leaving a child in a locked car is to have an alarm sound when the vehicle’s engine is off and the driver’s door is opened. The majority of car seats are attached to vehicle’s seats using the vehicle’s seat belts, which remained buckled after the child is removed, to leave the car seat securely in place. The child is secured by the car seat’s belts, which are independent of the vehicle’s seat belt. The solution would require the rear seat belt buckles to be wired like the driver’s and front passenger’s seat belt buckles, which would result in the alarm sounding when a seat belt remains buckled, alerting the driver to check the car seat. LATCH anchors can be wired to detect tension, indicating the presence of a car seat using the LATCH system. Being a part of the vehicle’s circuitry, it requires no additional equipment to purchase, set up, or attach to the car seat, making it. completely passive for the caregiver.
Progress to date: Because this is a passive solution for the parent or caregiver, the automotive industry would be required to make the appropriate changes in the manufacture of new vehicles. The costs involved to change seat belt buckles from unwired to wired, to include tension-detection devices to LATCH anchors, to develop wiring harnesses, and to incorporate the circuitry to the existing alarm system would not be a costly addition to the price of a new mass-produced vehicle. It would require a government mandate to implement this solution to save lives.

About Our Team

Dr. Stephen Barnes, MD
Pediatrics , Practicing Physician
Medical school: Tulane School of Medicine
Bio: I am a semiretired pediatrician practicing telemedicine in Louisiana
Title: MD

About Our Company

Stephen C Barnes, MD
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
Product stage: idea
Sales: Working on it
Employees: 1-2

How We Help Patients

Currently, new vehicles are full of all sorts of safety features, all of which contribute to making our travel safer. Vehicles have alerts to remind front passenger occupants to buckle their seat belts, alarms to warn the driver when they are veering out of their lane, potential forward collision, and other safety alarms. This proposed solution described could be a life-saver for those we care for. In addition to preventing children from being left in vehicles, it would also be a lifesaver for elderly and disabled passengers. It would not be a significant expense, as it would be mass-produced, and should be standard equipment on all new vehicles sold in the United States.

How We Help Education

Pediatricians and other healthcare providers of infants and children are front-line advocates of car seat (including infant seats, car seats, and booster seats) use in all vehicles, regardless of the length of the trip. Healthcare providers should make this discussion an integral part of health maintenance encounters with parents and caregivers.

How We Help Physicians

This solution to prevent deaths from being left in hot vehicles should be promoted to the automotive industry to become standard equipment on all new vehicles sold in the United States. It is a very significant safety feature that can help save lives.

Challenge Mission

Mission: With an estimated 250 million passenger vehicles registered in the United States, and over 15 million new vehicle sales annually, vehicle safety is crucial to the health and safety of our patients.
Use of funds: The funding of this project will be used to promote the solution to prevent deaths from leaving children in hot vehicles. This safety feature will need to be presented to national and government agencies to develop mandates for production in new vehicles. Funding will also be used to develop a prototype of the circuitry that can demonstrate the alarm system.
Intellectual Property Status: Patent search in progress, will be applying for a provisional patent.
FDA Status: Not Applicable
Personal Message: Vehicle safety is a very important aspect of health care, and should be discussed with parents and patients at all health maintenance encounters. This solution to prevent death of children being left in vehicles adds an extra safety feature to enhance safety in new vehicles sold in the United States without adding any extra effort on parents or caregivers. It would be a low cost addition to the price of a new car, truck, or SUV.

Supporters

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    05/24/2016 Dr. Stephen Barnes - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/24/2016 Dr. Stephen Barnes - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/20/2016 Nancy McKnabb - Hospital Staff

    Followed the project.

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    05/20/2016 Nancy McKnabb - Hospital Staff

    Liked the project.

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    05/19/2016 Sydney Lyons - Mental Health Professional

    Liked the project.

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    05/19/2016 Justin Newman - Healthcare Innovator

    Followed the project.

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    05/19/2016 Justin Newman - Healthcare Innovator

    Liked the project.

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    05/19/2016 Sydney Lyons - Mental Health Professional

    Followed the project.

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    05/19/2016 Ava Hudson - Nurse

    Interested in other factor.

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    05/19/2016 Ava Hudson - Nurse

    Followed the project.

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    05/18/2016 Casey Papovan - Concerned Citizen

    Liked the project.

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    05/17/2016 Carter Keller - Entrepeneur

    Liked the project.

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Stephen Barnes, MD
Physician
MD
Tulane School of Medicine

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