Here's an unsettling statistic: An average of 38 children who are left in hot cars die every year. Now, an inventor aims to eliminate those tragedies altogether.
Dennis Aneiros, an automotive designer, created a car seat that could save kids' lives if they're ever trapped in hot cars. The ANEIROS Vehicle Child Seat System would react to the child left behind by activating the cars already-installed features such as lights, ignition, and alarm. If the parent is already too far from the car to notice the lights flashing or alarm sounding, the air-conditioner activates.
"Cars nowadays come equipped with touch screen interfaces, GPS, direct cell phone connections, but nothing that can alert a parent of a child that's left attended in a vehicle," said creative director Jonathan Machado in the system's promotional video.
Currently, there's a working prototype, and Aneiros has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund production, including manufacturing, engineering, tooling and polishing the exterior. On the fundraising page, he explains what the system entails:
"The ANIEROS effectively integrates with your vehicles alarm and electrical wiring, giving it the capability to alert a parent or caretaker of a forgotten child, activating the cars alarm, triggering the air condition system to cool down an overheating child, and much more."
It's easy to dismiss leaving a child in a hot car as negligent parenting, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it really can happen to anyone. In a 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning piece for The Washington Post, Gene Weingarten evaluated a number of tragedies and concluded that there is no specific "type" of parent who leaves their child in a hot car. He wrote:
In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.
Former HuffPost Senior Columnist Lisa Belkin echoed Weingarten's argument that blaming parents will not solve the problem. "Pointing fingers and punishing them does not prevent the next mistake; creating a system that assumes fallibility and works around it makes a lot more practical sense," she wrote when reporting on an acronym that could be help avoid these fatalities.
Providing that system is what what Aneiros wants to do.
As of Monday morning, his campaign has raised $396 of the $500,000 goal. One donor wrote "What a great concept! I look forward to seeing how you guys progress – exciting stuff!"