Shine On

Grade 5 student’s invention reminds parents not to leave children in a hot car

Andrew Pelham even includes instructions so parents can make their own E-Z Baby Savers. (E-Z Baby Saver) Andrew Pelham even includes instructions so parents can make their own E-Z Baby Savers. (E-Z Baby Saver)

Guess who just invented a solution for a child-related problem that perplexes adults? That’s right. An 11-year-old.

As the Toronto Star reports, Andrew Pelham has landed himself a finalist’s spot in the Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors for his E-Z Baby Saver, a contraption that reminds parents not to leave their children in the car.

For his efforts, he won $500 and runner-up status in the contest’s Science & Engineering category.

Hosted by Akron University and the Akron Global Polymer Academy, young people compete each year for the top prize in a series of categories that all involve one element (as you’ve no doubt wisely deduced): Rubber bands.

Andrew’s submission couldn’t come at a more apt time. Stories about perplexed and harried parents accidentally leaving babies and pets in the backseat has hit a fever pitch, with new tragedies seeming to make headlines each week. One story is too many.

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Because of the enormous anguish these incidents create, the Brentwood, Tenn. student conjured up a simple but ingenious way to make sure they happen less often.

“When I did some research, I learned that a child can be killed in less than 15 minutes in a hot car. Pediatrics reported that 38 children are killed this way every year. I also remembered a local family who lost their baby who was asleep in the back seat last year,” the clever chap writes on his website.

“I couldn't get that story out of my mind. If I could prevent just one tragedy, then my invention would be a success.”

With this motivation in mind, Andrew designed a strap fashioned out of rubber bands and neon duct tape that parents can affix to the back of the driver’s seat, the paper notes. Once the parent finishes securing his child in the car seat, he proceeds to attach the other end of the rubber band strap to the door handle.

Like the band around your wrist you used to wear in grade school to remind you of important things, Andrew’s contraption serves a similar function.

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“It's supposed to make you stop as you leave the car and ask, ‘Is my child strapped in the back seat?’” he explains.

Andrew also shows far more compassion and understanding than adults for the grave, devastating sequence of mistakes and miscommunications that most often lead parents to forget their kids in the car in the first place.

“No parent wants to leave their children in a hot car, but everyone could use a reminder when the normal routine is changed. Like anything else, using the E-Z Baby Saver is something you train yourself to do,” he notes.

Completing his hat trick of awesome, Andrew has decided to offer his invention for free, providing clear, illustrated instructions on how to create your own E-Z Baby Saver.

“You can make it yourself in fifteen minutes with rubber bands and duct tape. Using it properly is up to you!” Andrew cracks.

Watch the video below for tips on what to do if you see a baby locked in a hot car.

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