11-year-old boy invents device to stop babies dying in hot cars
The young boy had a personal story that had motivated him to come up with a solution to the terrifying deaths that so many little ones face in the height of summer.
11-year-old Texan Bishop Curry's neighbor died when he was left in a hot car, prompting him to invent a device that would be able to sense when a child is left alone inside a vehicle.
According to Bishop's father, an engineer at Toyota also named Bishop Curry, his son is inquisitive about the overall view of major issues affecting the world - from natural disasters to civil rights. He also loves to tinker, as reported by NBC News.
In 2017, after seeing a piece of news about a 6-month-old baby who passed away when left in the hot car, Curry, 10, decided to invent something that would stop the tragic incident from recurring in the future.
He told NBC News: "I was like, 'This would be my one-way shot to actually helping people.'"
Curry, from McKinney, drew a mock-up of a device that would sense if a child is left alone in a car. Then, the device would alert parents' phones and the police via text or notifications while blowing cold air into the vehicle until help arrives for the child.
Curry has called the genius device "Oasis." "It's like texting," he said. "But without emojis."
His father was quickly sold on the idea. His response was: "My thought was, 'Why isn't this in stores now?'"
Toyota was so impressed by the 10-year-old's idea that the company has since sent both him and his father to Michigan for a safety conference where they would be able to pitch the idea.
But Curry's invention comes from a very tragic place, rather than from a desire to earn a ton of money. A 6-month-old baby girl by the name of Fern, who lived nearby Curry's own home, had died in an overheated car.
Curry passed by her family's house all the time on the way to school, and was struck personally by her death as a result. He has met with the baby girl's parents since the tragedy.
"They really supported me," he said. "They didn't want anything [like that] to happen to any other families."
According to Kids and Cars, an advocacy center that studies the issue, 804 children have died in hot cars in the United States since 1994.
Many of these tragedies are not as a result of parents deliberately leaving their children in parked cars on hot days, but as a result of parents forgetting to take their little ones out when they themselves climb out of the car, only remembering hours later.
July is the deadliest month of the year in the United States, because it is the hottest, particularly in the southern states. Unfortunately, this is not a rule, and instances of child death as a result of being left in a car have been reported in almost every state.
Approximately 36 children die in these tragedies on an annual basis. As of July 20, 26 children have already died in hot cars in 2018.
The cause of death is vehicular heatstroke or hyperthermia, and the younger the child, the higher the risk that they will die in the heat of a parked car.