Oklahoma second graders win award for life-saving idea
OKLAHOMA CITY – It's a story we hear all too often, a small child dying after being left in a car where the temperature rises well above 100-degrees.
Last weekend, a 17-month-old in Texas died after being left in a hot car.
Sheriff John Whetsel, with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, said, "This year, again, every nine days a child is going to die in a hot car and every one of those can be prevented."
According to Safe Kids Oklahoma, there were more than 40 cases across the country of children dying in hot cars last year.
It is a sad reality that got a group of second graders at John Ross Elementary School thinking.
Their invention doesn't look like much, but they hope it could someday save the lives of children, alerting parents when they have left a child behind.
Elora Johnson, one of the second graders, said, "It can tell the difference between a bag or something living."
Johnson and her friends thought of the idea after witnessing an animal suffering.
She said, "Once, when I went to the state Capitol, there was a dog left in the car for about an hour."
It is a sight that stuck in her mind.
Right now, their idea is just an idea but they say they hope it can be a reality in the future.
The kids say a sensor would be installed under the car seat, which would be able to tell when a child is in the car.
An alarm would sound if that child is not taken out after the car is shut off.
Johnson said, "If the temperature gets over 100-degrees, it rolls down the windows, it flashes lights."
It then would say, "Hot car, baby inside."
The second graders have won a national award for the idea.
As part of their national award, all three won a trip to Washington D.C. and a chance to meet Bill Nye 'the Science Guy.'
They have each also won a $10,000 scholarship and a tablet.