While many people may scratch their heads and wonder how it’s possible to forget your child is in the car, 9-year-old Sophie Lawson recognises this really can happen to exhausted parents and carers. Not only that, she put her thinking cap on and invented something to keep everyone safer.
Sophie created the device for a school project, seeking to solve a problem she was really worried about – people accidentally leaving babies unattended in cars. After explaining to her mum, Jenny, what she thought would work, she set about making her idea a reality.
‘Sophie’s Baby Forget-Me-Not’ involves a length of coiled plastic cable, some velcro strips, a couple of key rings and a little bit of habit changing. At just $11, it’s a thrifty work of genius, as far as we’re concerned.
The smart little girl is not selling her invention, but rather encourages families to make their own and customise in ways that suit them (with safety at the forefront, obviously.)
Sophie even tells us where to get the bits and bobs she used, so there’s just no excuse for not DIY-ing your own version.
Why do we even need such a device?
While you might think it is impossible to forget you have a child in the car, around half of the children who die unattended in hot cars are left there accidentally.
“As a parent, I sympathize with that view,” University of South Florida psychologist Dr David Diamond says.
“But as a scientist, I can tell you that the (brain) can suppress all kinds of memories, even of things that are the most important to us.”
A combination of factors including stressed parents, lack of visibility and the fact that we use the auto-pilot part of our brain a lot of the time when driving, conspire to create these terrible, unintended tragedies.
Experts tell us that it’s not bad parenting that sparks these accidents, but rather this auto-pilot driving often coupled with a small change in the usual routine.
Safe, new habits
This is what makes Sophie’s idea a great one. Not only does it suggest a way for parents to remain connected to their child, regardless of whether they slip into auto-pilot or not. It also provides a new, kid-safe routine to provide much-needed insurance for frazzled parents.
Yes, we’d recommend you don’t pass your car keys back to your child as shown in the clip, but you get the basic premise and we’re sure you will agree it could potentially save lives. It could also spark important conversations and other other safety devices that tackle this dangerous problem.
Congratulations Sophie, on a great initiative that will make parents think differently about travelling with their babies.