Infant Left in Car Passive Warning System

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The tragic hot-car death of the child in the “illustration photo” happened near my hometown. This simple concept could have easily prevented this and the many similar unintentional “child left in car” deaths that continue to occur. There are many “systems” to help prevent this, but it continues to happen. Obviously, this safety issue is NOT resolved! My idea is totally passive, extremely simple and low-cost, and could/should be included as standard on all new vehicles that have more than two doors. It requires nothing other than a clever algorithm to manage existing systems already on the vehicle. The additional cost is almost nil. The potential benefit is priceless!

In the case of the incident related to the photo, the negligent father was out of his routine and was distracted by a “crisis at work” phone call while he was on the way to work. It was not his normal duty to drop the kids off at daycare, but on this fateful day, his wife was unavailable to do it. The call came while he was driving and he lost focus of his child care responsibilities. He drove straight to work and totally forgot that his twins were asleep in their carseats on the back seat of the vehicle. There but for the grace of God go I…

Here is a solution! Other than the addition of latch-closed sensors on rear-seat seat belts, everything else is already included on the standard vehicle.

Consider this: If a vehicle is carrying a child in a carseat, a rear door would have been opened long enough for the child to be placed in the car seat. A rear seatbelt would also be in the latched position to secure the car seat. The rear door would be closed before the vehicle drives away. When the vehicle is eventually shut down and the driver’s door is opened, in short order, the rear door should open and stay open long enough to allow the child to be removed from the car seat. If the algorithm has logged the likelihood that there is a child in a car seat, but not detected the likelihood that the child was removed from the car seat, the system should trigger a triple short beep of the horn to remind the driver to consider if a child may have been absentmindedly left in the vehicle. Is there a possibility of a false alert? Sure… Could the algorithm be clever enough to minimize false alerts? Certainly! Is it worth doing? It is hard to imagine that this simple system would not save innocent lives and prevent irrecoverable senseless tragedy! This needs to be a mandated standard feature on all new vehicles that might carry children in rear seat carseats!


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  • Name:
    Zachary Merrill
  • Type of entry:
  • Patent status: