Students Create ‘Safe Car’ to Alert Drivers of Children, Pets Left in Cars

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Students in one part of Lycoming County are hoping their invention could help save lives.

The idea is to alert drivers if a child or pet is left in a hot car.

Sam Penman, a senior at Williamsport Area High School, has been waiting months to show off an invention he helped create

Penman has been working with a team of students from Williamsport to create a sensor system that alerts drivers if they leave their child or animal in a dangerously hot car.

It's called Safe Car.

"This kind of came about because some of them remembered in 2016 a child had died from heat exhaustion in a car," said Andrew Paulhamus.

Paulhamus is a teacher at Williamsport. He's been helping the students prepare for the Pennsylvania Governor's STEM competition in Lancaster where students could win a scholarship of $2,000 per member for first place.

Students from across the state were challenged to create an invention or product that improves the lives of people in Pennsylvania.

"The main reason was to protect the lives of dogs, cats, babies, small children," Penman said.

According to Penman, when conditions become too hot and movement is detected inside the car, a text message is sent to the driver to alert them of the potential danger.

If it gets too hot for too long, it would notifying emergency services.

All of the sensors for the project can fit in a small box. The students would like to see their relatively low-cost idea become a federally mandated feature.

"To have it already in the car almost like an Onstar system. You won't use it a lot, but when it has to be used, it's really helpful and a lot better than what is in the cars," said Penman.

While the students would like to patent their invention, for right now, they're focused on the competition this Friday in Lancaster.


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