A 10-year-old Texas boy was inspired to invent a device that could help children forgotten in hot cars from heat-related deaths. Bishop Curry V says he was inspired to think about the problem after he heard about a child in a neighboring city who died after being left in a hot minivan last year.
Bishop is a fifth-grader at Melissa Ridge Intermediate School, and the son of Bishop IV, an operational excellence manager and process engineer at Toyota Financial Services in Plano, Texas. After hearing about the child who died, he drew up plans for a life-saving device and asked his dad to find someone at the car company who could work on it with him. “I heard about babies dying in car seats and they could have grown up to be somebody important,” the 10-year-old told Toyota. “It makes me pretty upset.”
Bishop’s device is called the “Oasis” and would attach to a child’s car seat or a seat in the vehicle. If a child were left inside a hot car, it would blow cold air on the baby to prevent overheating while alerting emergency workers and the child’s parents. Bishop is still in the design stage, but he has a clay prototype built and a provisional patent. Bishop and his family have also visited the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies’ annual conference to present the concept.
In the first eight months of 2016, 28 young kids died of heatstroke after being left inside hot vehicles, according to the National Safety Council. In the majority of cases parents simply forgot their child was in the car, according to Jan Null, of San Jose State University, who tracks the deaths of children in hot cars for No Heat Stroke. Bishop’s dad told NBC that he understands how the unfortunate accident could happen to any parent. “Sometimes babies fall asleep and they’re really quiet, so if you’re rushing home from work or you’re rushing to the grocery store, I could see how somebody could forget,” Curry IV said.
Hopefully, his son’s invention will help save lives. Bishop and his family set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise awareness of the device and money for the patent and manufacturing stage. “I know what it feels like to lose a family member that’s really close to you,” the 10-year-old said about the passing of his grandfather. “I don’t want anybody else to feel that.”