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Sleeping Infant in Car Seat

Texas Tech Student Company May Save Kids From Dying in Hot Cars

Between 30 and 40 kids die each year when they’re accidentally left in a hot car.

Because it’s a problem caused when adults forget about children, it’s often been looked at as a problem to be tackled with educational campaigns. If you remind adults often enough, maybe they’ll be careful not to forget children in cars.

Some students at Texas Tech University, however, looked at it as more of an engineering problem. And they’ve come up with what they hope may be something that helps.

A student-run company called C-Safe came up with a weight-sensing pad that detects when a child is still in a car seat when an adult leaves the car.

The pad is linked to an app. If a parent leaves a child in the car seat, and leaves the car for more than five minutes while the child remains in the seat, an alarm will sound on the parent’s phone. The system will also send the parent text messages until they return to the car.

The idea won this year’s Innovation Hub Red Raider Idea Competition at Texas Tech.

It wasn’t an engineering student that came up with the idea, but senior business management major Gage Dutkin, Texas Tech Today reported last month.

He’d thought of the idea a while back, but as he was trying to come up with something to enter in the startup idea competition, his mother mentioned a news story to him. It was about a local hospital CEO whose daughter died after being left in the back seat of a car. Dutkin decided then to use his idea for a weight-based alarm.

After Dutkin’s idea won the Red Raider Idea Competition, he recruited some other students to help him enter the iLaunch competition. The idea won again – which brought a prize of $10,000 to to the company to further develop the product.

C-Safe is now part of an accelerator program that provides mentors to startups.

Dutkin told Texas Tech Today that when the product is ready for market, it will be sold online.

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