Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Smart Seat Rescues Kids Left in Cars

A car seat developed by a La Trobe University electronic engineering student triggers a car alarm to alert people nearby that a child has been left in a car within a certain time after the car has been parked. After that, the seat sends messages via mobile phones to parents, carers and, as a last resort, to emergency services.

The seat has temperature sensors inside and outside the car, as well as a location GPS in case the driver is incapacitated or cannot be found.

The seat’s inventor, Mr Adrian Clark, said the system could become a required safety feature for any vehicle fitted with a child seat given that children are far more susceptible to heat stress than adults, and internal car temperatures can quickly rise to 45–50°C when the air temperature is only 25°C.

“Like seat belts and airbags, it’s an insurance policy that could avoid a tragic situation that you hope will never occur,” Clark said. “It could be the difference between a child being found in a hot car before it’s too late.”

Ambulance Victoria rescues more than 1000 children from cars per year.