Design of “Smart Car Seat” to Prevent Heat Related Deaths of Children Left Alone inside Cars
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Every year, there’s news about children being left unattended by their guardians in the car and died from the heat related causes. The US government has realized the seriousness of the problem and started to pass some new regulations, demanding the car manufacturers to install some type of sensors inside the car to remind the adults about the kids being left in the car. The authors approach this problem from a different perspective. As we understand, not every car needs this type of sensors to detect kids because many cars don’t transport children at all. But every child (year 5 and under) needs to sit on a car seat inside the car required by law. We are tackling the problem by adding more features to the car seat to make it “smart” enough to detect the temperature inside the car and to detect whether the kids are being left alone inside the car by the adults. The design utilizes a sensor platform and a smartphone application to reliably monitor safety of the child. The system powers itself on in the presence of a child. The entire system is based on the programmable Arduino microcontroller circuit board. A force sensitive resistor is placed along the backrest of the car seat. This resistor is the indicator for the system to become active. When the system is active, meaning a child is present, the Arduino begins to monitor the temperature inside the car using a temperature sensor. When the temperature reaches unsafe level, an audible alarm is sent out. There is also a notification device paired with the system using app on the guardian’s smart phone. Text messages will be sent to the phone if it is sensed that the parent is accidentally leaving the child behind in the vehicle. This part of the system is separate from the audible alarm that will sound if temperatures are reaching unsafe levels and will be strictly used for proximity. The double warning system will guarantee to alert the adult. The prototype has demonstrated the accomplishments of the functions and feasibility of the smart car seat in preventing the death of the kids.