Published on November 24th, 2014 | by Alex and Brett Harris

Alyssa Chavez, Age 17: Invented “Hot Seat” Device to Protect Infants from Being Left in Cars

(CBC News) — A 17-year-old girl from New Mexico has invented a device that alerts parents — and passersby — if a child is left in their car.

The invention by Alissa Chavez of Albuquerque aims to reduce the chance that a child will die in an overheated car.

The teen has been working with engineers to perfect the design of the device, called Hot Seat, and is now raising money on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to develop a prototype so it can be manufactured.

The device consists of a pad that senses if a child is in the car seat and communicates wirelessly with a fob attached to a parent’s key chain.

If the parent walks more than 10 meters away without the child, it will trigger alarms on:

– The fob.

– The parent’s smartphone, via an app.

– The car itself.

“If the parent doesn’t have the key fob or the cellphone, the people around the vehicle will still be able to hear the alarm,” Chavez told CBC’s As It Happens.


Chavez hopes to raise $10,000 US on Indiegogo to build a prototype that manufacturers can use to mass produce the device, perhaps as soon as the end of this summer. As of Tuesday morning, she had raised $9,000, with less than three days left to go in the campaign

[UPDATE: Chavez’s Indiegogo campaign ended up raising $20,148.]

Chavez said her mother runs a home daycare, so she was really affected by stories about children dying in hot cars after being forgotten by accident.

“I couldn’t imagine losing any of the kids we work with.”

Science fair prize

A few years ago, that inspired her to create the earliest version of Hot Seat for her Grade 8 science fair project. She won the regional competition and went on to the state and national competitions.

Chavez said she has received a lot of positive feedback about the device from people who feel the invention needs to be out there.

“So many people have accidentally left their children in their car, and it didn’t turn out to be a tragedy,” she said, “but it still did scare them, that that can happen to anybody.”

The Canada Safety Council estimates between four and six children die from being left unattended in vehicles every year.

According to the advocacy group, in the U.S., 44 children died of heat stroke after being left in cars in 2013.

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

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Photo and video courtesy of ABC News.

About the Author

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.

  • Oh my! I can’t believe someone didn’t think of it sooner! Awesome job Alissa!

    • I know. There are so many practical and helpful ways to apply all our amazing new technology and all it takes to “connect-the-dots” between existing technologies and existing problems is a little bit of thought and a willingness to do the hard work of making it a reality.

      • Exactly.

      • alana

        Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a long time before that ‘aha’ moment comes.

        • Renee

          Yeah. lol. :)

  • Sam S.


  • That’s awesome!

  • Nick

    This is awesome!!! Great job Alissa! So, what exactly TRIGGERS the alarm? more than 10 minutes of the infant being in the car? maybe being in the car after it is turned off? I’m confused…

    • If the keychain piece goes outside a 40 foot radius, the alarm goes off.

      In a TV series, I’ve seen the same principal being used for a criminal consultant for the FBI. Pretty much a tracking anclet was placed around the consultant’s leg. And if it went outside a 2 mile radius, it alerted the FBI. Just an interesting fun fact. :)

      • Nick


      • Um, this is random but I just came across your comment and I have to ask. Are you talking about White Collar?? :)

        • Yep. Nice observation. :)

          • Haha, thanks. I have the theme song stuck in my head now, lol 😉 not that I mind.

  • David Barnes

    Brilliant idea, I’d definitely suggest to anyone with an infant

  • Jackson A.


  • Kate Wagner

    Wow, that’s amazing! Good job Alyssa!

  • Wayne D.

    I appreciate this girl for her efforts and honer her for her kindness. But this just isn’t going to work.. Wanna take care of a problem? TAKE CARE of it. At this rate why don’t we build a car-seat with built-in AC device with it’s own independent power source? Someone please steal this idea from me.

    • gdb

      Why don’t you think it will work?

      • AMD Cheap’n’Slow

        Because. A whore who has no problem leaving her child in a hot car, to get her stinky hair-hat done, is expected not only to buy this, but to actually use it. And if she’s not a whore, but just that forgetful to FORGET HER CHILD, she should not be allowed to care for her anyway. It’s like giving the rapist a sticker which says “PLEASE DO NOT RAPE”, telling the wolf not to eat a sheep, rain not to fall etc

  • Amulet Matlala

    Nice work girl… keep them coming. God bless you

  • Benji H.


  • Leorah

    I think it is so awesome!! What I love about this too is that she saw a huge need and found such a simple but unthought of solution. So inspiring and really makes me want to just keep an eye out for those needs because honestly, you would think someone might have thought of this before. Seriously, SO motivating! <3 God bless!

    • Thanks for your comment, Leorah! That’s exactly why we wanted to share this story with our audience. It just reminds you that young people can come up with creative solutions to real problems. =)

  • JOE


  • JOE


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