Extraordinary People

Genius in the making! Girl, 12, to prevent baby car deaths by inventing heat detector

Meet Lydia Denton, whose product could save thousands of lives.

It’s not often we’re lost for words, but this whizz-kid puts adult inventors to shame.

Meet Lydia Denton, who at just 12-years-old has devised a product that could save thousands of lives by preventing baby car deaths.

While critics may say the fatalities are due to neglectful parents, the reality is that children heat up to five times faster than grownups meaning that just minutes inside a hot car can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness and death within 20 minutes.

Thanks to Lydia, her ‘Beat the Heat Car Seat’ device is now on a mission to help parents detect when their little ones are too hot via a pad under the car seat cover.


The pad kicks into action once it detects pressure weighing more than 5lbs on it.

It begins by monitoring the temperature, and if the system detects heat in excess of 102°F (38.8°C), an alarm goes off with a warning message on the electronic LCD display.

Parents will then receive a text message, which they must to respond within 60 seconds to reset the device otherwise the product sends a message to 911 with the car’s location.

[Credit: Covey Denton]

Lydia’s trailblazing invention, which is portable and costs a mere $40 (£30), is garnering global attention and she has just won the CITGO Fuelling Education Student Challenge.

The trophy not only earned her praise and headlines, but also a cool $20,000 (£15k).

Speaking about her creation, the North Carolina native said she had seen a news feature about babies and toddlers being left in hot cars by accident which prompted her to act.

[Credit: Covey Denton]

Lydia said: “I did some research and saw that it happened a lot and that it wasn’t just neglectful parents. I got really upset and wanted to try and help.

“My mum has a saying: ‘Stop complaining and do something about it.’ Complaining or being sad doesn’t solve the problem, we have to take action to make a change.”

In Lydia’s home country, nearly every US state has experienced at least one casualty from a hot car since 1998 – with 52 being recorded last year.

[Credit: Covey Denton]

Lydia, who has teamed up with a mentor to help manufacture the device, spent over 100 tries to get her invention working and had to push through many failed models.

She added: “If there is something that bothers you, think of ways to make it better.

“Sometimes, that means changing your attitude, but sometimes that means an invention. You’ve got to push and learn, and you can’t give up.”

What an absolute boss!


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