LUBBOCK, TX - July 2017 was called the "deadliest month yet" for kids being left in hot cars, with 11 children nationwide dying in the heat. One group of Texas Tech students are building a device to prevent these tragedies from ever happening.
Gage Dutkin and three other students created C-Safe, a sensor that connects a car seat to the user's iphone to alert a parent if they leave their child in the car for more than 5 minutes.
“Obviously, I don't have kids. I'm a college student. It's not like I've actually been faced with this problem,” Dutkin said. “It's not a money thing for us, but solving a really serious problem is incredibly meaningful to us.”
Founder Gage Dutkin always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and wanted to enter a competition, but didn't know what he wanted to invent.
“A couple of days before the competition, my mom calls me and goes, ‘Gage, oh my gosh, did you hear that a CEO of a hospital just left her daughter in a hot car?’” Dutkin said. “The CEO of a hospital. That just blew my mind, so I was like if this can happen to her it can happen to anyone.”
He started looking into hot car deaths, and was shocked. According to the National Safety Council’s website, an average of 37 kids die a year.
“This is a serious problem, and it is happening all over the country," Dutkin said.
Dutkin got a team together, who realized there was a connection in the number of hot car deaths and the rise of smartphone technology.
“C-safe is a technology that brings you back down to earth and reminds you there are things much more important than your smartphone when it matters the most,” Tech student and C-Safe COO Sean Tully said.
The four students began working countless hours at tech's innovation hub, eventually winning $10,000 in a competition called iLaunch to get their product off the ground. They're now the only undergraduate students in an accelerated program at the Hub.
They said the hard work every day is worth it.
“Every time I hear something like this, I stop what I’m doing and I think about it. Every one of these kids is potentially someone we could have prevented their death,” Tully said.
“The accidental death of a child is something that's tragic, and no one wants it to happen to them. So it's important to be that we get this done as soon as possible.”
The device is still in the prototype phase, but C-Safe founders have big dreams of where the product could end up, like on the shelves of Target or Wal-mart, or even on the TV show Shark Tank.
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