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12-year-old girl wins $20,000 for inventing device to help prevent hot car deaths

Beat the heat car seat

Lydia Denton learned about kids dying of hot car deaths because accidentally left behind

Hot car deaths: Lydia decided to find a solution, and she did!


Lydia Denton invented a car seat device that measures the temperature of a car and alerts parents and emergency when the temperature inside the car reaches 102 degrees.

Two years later, the 12-year-old from North Carolina won a $20,000 prize for her invention, Beat the heat car seat.


Beat the heat car seat
Lydia Denton against hot car deaths


“I got really emotional about it because it’s something that’s happening in the real world that I knew could be fixed”. It is what Lydia, who will enter seventh grade in the fall, told “Good Morning America”. “And no one has come up with a cheap way to fix it that people can afford”.

Lydia’s invention, the Beat The Heat Car Seat, is designed with a pressure pad that registers when something five pounds or greater is placed in the car seat and begins to check the temperature. The device is portable, so it can be transferred to other car seats.

According to Lydia, it would cost around $50.


Beat the heat car seat


Her invention won her the grand prize in this year’s CITGO Fueling Education Student Challenge. Such competition “invites elementary and middle school students to apply STEM skills to develop a solution for a better, more sustainable world”.

About the Fueling Education Program

Fueling Education is a premier educational program created for students in grades 5–8 with the mission to supply educators with the tools they need to inform STEM understanding and prepare students for long-term success in the workforce. Fueling Education is meant to inspire and motivate young students to create the enduring innovations of the future.

Beat the car seat: from idea to execution

Lydia is using part of her $20,000 in prize money to continue to develop the Beat The Heat Car Seat with the hopes of getting it to market.

“That’s why I tried to enter it in as many contests as I could and really get it out there so it can be something that will save lives and be something that most people can afford and be able to get,” she said.

Lydia also shared some of her prize money with her 14-year-old brother and 10-year-old sister, who also helped her fine-tune the car seat device.


Beat the heat car seat
Lydia with her younger sister, who helped her with the project

Lydia’s mom, Covey Denton, a science teacher, said it was inspiring to watch her three kids work together to come up with a solution to a problem that has been around for years.

Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since eight editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad.

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