Fourth Grader Invents Device That Will Prevent Parents From Forgetting Their Babies In Cars

Fourth Grader Invents Device That Will Prevent Parents From Forgetting Their Babies In Cars

A school project can be such a daunting experience, especially when it requires creative thinking. You tell your child to use their brain and come up with something, but on your part, you come up blank. It certainly isn’t easy to invent something new, however, this fourth grader has achieved this feat. 

Super Fourth Grader 

Sophie Rapson, a nine-year-old girl, took her “Invention Convention” project very seriously. The students had to come up with something that has never been invented before. And whatever they came up with had to work. Sophie brainstormed with her parents up until the night before the project was due. Eventually, her mom, Jenny Rapson, remembered an article she wrote on her blog ForEveryMom.com about a firefighter who left his baby in a hot car. So she said, “The only thing I can think of that REALLY needs to be invented is something to keep parents from forgetting their babies in the car.” While the project could be inspired by someone else’s idea, it had to be the child’s invention so Sophie came up with a device to help prevent babies from dying in hot cars. [1]

The Baby Forget-Me-Not 

Sophie came up with a sketch of what her device would look like. Then, with her parents’ help, she decided the device would be made up of just two things: velcro loops and a stretchy cord. Jenny said the supplies cost about $12, so you can easily make your own. 

In a video posted by Jenny on YouTube, Sophie explained how the device works. Jenny put her son in the car seat, attached one end of the velcro loops to his seat belt, and attached the other end to her car keys. When she turned off the ignition, she opened her door and his, set the keys back, and said, “Now I have to get my keys attached to the cord and my child, so I can’t leave my child in the car.” [2]

Sophie isn’t interested in monetizing her device; all she wants is to save lives, one baby at a time. Her mom wrote on a blog post, “Sophie’s not selling her invention, but she doesn’t mind if you copy her design — she wants parents everywhere to make these simple devices and use them every day to ensure no one ever accidentally leaves their babies in the car again. I know she’s my daughter and I’m biased, but I’m pretty proud of this girl!”

Why anyone would forget their kid in a car?

Unfortunately, this happens more often than you probably think. According to KidsAndCars.org, every year, 37 children die from being trapped in a hot vehicle.

Dr. David Diamond, a psychologist and neuroscientist at the University of Florida, said, “Parents need reminders that a child is in the backseat, because stress and sleep deprivation can cause the brain of a parent to revert to habits and forget plans they may have made to drop children off at daycare.”

Car companies have been asked to add new safety mechanisms for kids. The Hot Cars Act of 2016 requires that all new passenger vehicles need to be equipped with technology to alert drivers if a child is left in the backseat. Founder of KidsAndCars.org, Janette Fennell said, “We’re walking around like zombies, car companies must step up to protect their most vulnerable passengers.” [3]

Dr. Diamond has a theory on how caring and competent parents can forget their children in the car. His studies, which include the neurobiology of “Forgotten Baby Syndrome,” led him to determine the reason for the oversight: a failure of the memory system.

“There’s a system called ‘prospective memory,’ which involves the intent to remember to complete tasks out of your ordinary routine.” According to him, the prospective memory is what fails when a parent forgets a child in a car. “A parent leaving a baby in a car is not carelessness, it’s a failure of the memory system.” [4]

Most people have applauded Sophie for her ingenious idea

Indeed, it is commendable that a child invented something that could potentially save other children. Perri Konecky of Popsugar.com said, “The issue of forgetting children in a car is a scarily prevalent issue and Sophie’s invention is an awesome way to help.” [5]

However, Melissa Willets pointed out a possible “side effect.” 

“While I think Sophie is awesome for inventing something that is tied to a current problem, I can’t help but point out that the Baby Forget-Me-Not also creates a new one: it’s a potential strangulation hazard for babies. What’s to stop them from playing around with it while mom or dad is driving, and wrapping it around their necks? But Sophie’s heart is in the right place, and if nothing else, she definitely calls attention to a very, very important issue.” [6]

Another genius device to help save children from hot cars

Invented by 10-year-old Bishop Curry from McKinney, Texas, the Oasis is intended to be used for preventing the death of children from heatstroke after being left in hot vehicles. The Oasis monitors the temperature inside the car, and emits cool air once the temperature gets to a certain level. It also alerts parents and the authorities via an antenna. Bishop came up with the idea after his 6-month-old neighbor died from being in an overheated car. His father set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for monitoring the device and securing a patent. [7]

It’s refreshing to see children coming up with these brilliant and innovative ideas. We’re proud of Sophie and Bishop, and we hope more kids are encouraged to unlock their creative sides.

References:

  1. Fourth Grader Invents Device So Parents Won’t Forget Their Baby In The Car.For Every Mom.
  2. Hot Car Deaths Of Children Prompt Car Alert Legislation.” Kids and Cars.
  3. There’s science behind why parents leave kids in hot cars.” USA Today.
  4. Fourth Grader Invents Genius Device To Help Parents Remember Their Kid Is In The Car.Pop Sugar.
  5. You’d Never Forget Your Child In The Car, Right?Parents.
  6. 10-Year-Old Boy Invents A Genius Device To Stop Children Dying In Hot Cars After His Neighbor’s Death.” Bored Panda.
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