Bishop Curry is only 10 years old, but this bright young boy could help save thousands of children’s lives. He invented a new device that could prevent infants from getting trapped in hot vehicles.
An average of 36 children pass away each year after being left in a hot car. The tragedies often occur when parents change their routines and forget about their baby, who may have fallen asleep, is in the car.
During the summer, cars can get extremely hot very quickly, and babies and children left in vehicles can easily develop hyperthermia.
After hearing that his neighbor’s 6-month-old infant died from being left in a hot car, Bishop got to work on a life-saving device called the Oasis that may be able to prevent tragedies like this in the future.
The Oasis is a car seat cover that is connected to a device that detects rising temperatures. It responds by emitting cool air, while simultaneously using an antenna to send a signal to parents and authorities.
“It kind of came in my head,” Bishop told members of the media.
Bishop mocked up a 3D clay model of the device and received a patent in April 2018. His dad, Bishop Curry IV, set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with the initial capital for the potentially life-saving product.
The device “will detect when a child has been left inside a hot vehicle and alert parents to the child’s situations,” the senior Curry wrote on the GoFundMe page. “The device will also come with the technology to help cool down the child while he or she waits to be rescued.”
Attorneys advised the family that they’d need to collect a minimum of $20,000 for prototyping, manufacturing and patenting fees for the device. The GoFundMe campaign has already exceeded its initial goal of $20,000. As of October 2018, the campaign had generated more than $50,000.
The 5th grader is still learning as much as he can about hot cars. When Toyota, Bishop Curry IV’s employer, heard about the device, they sent father and son to the Toyota Technical Center in Detroit, where they both got the opportunity to witness important safety tests on vehicles.
Since 1990, more than 800 children have died after being tragically left in a hot car. But these tragic incidents don’t always come from neglect or cruelty — sometimes they truly are an accident or a misjudgment.
Children are at a unique risk for heatstroke in cars because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, so even just a quick trip into a convenience store can have a tragic ending.
Here’s what you need to know to keep your kids safe.
1. It doesn’t have to be hot.
Most of us know that it’s a really bad idea to leave your child in the car on a 90-degree day, but kids have suffered heatstroke in cars on days when the temperature has been as low as 60 degrees, according to KidsAndCars.org. And even on milder days in a car with the windows cracked, the temperature inside the car can skyrocket to 125 degrees in just minutes. A child dies when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2. Remember to A-C-T
The Safe Kids Worldwide organization recommends the “A-C-T” approach to preventing heatstrokes in children during the summer. This simple pneumonic device can help you — or someone else — to prevent a life-threatening situation.
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a a moment. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t crawl in on accident.
C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child, such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that you need at your final destination. This is particularly important if you’re not following your normal routine.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911 right away. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.
3. Look before you lock.
With toddlers and older kids, it’s extremely important that you make sure all the doors are locked if your car stays in the garage or the driveway. You don’t want anyone climbing into a hot car to play and getting stuck in there.
In that same vein, before you leave your car in a parking lot or elsewhere, make it a routine to look into the backseat before you walk away. Safercar.gov recommends putting a stuffed animal or visual cue in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and moving it into the front seat when your child is buckled in. This will help keep you alert on days when you’re exhausted or your routine has changed significantly, which can throw you off.
4. Bring your kids with you.
When in doubt, just make the decision to take your kids with you wherever you are going. Even if you think a trip into a store will be only a minute, any kind of unforeseen event could end up delaying you. Eighty percent of the temperature increase inside a car happens in the initial 10 minutes. It gets hot in there — and fast. Better to be safe and bring your kids inside with you.