Tampa neighbors invent device to help reduce child heatstroke deaths in vehicles

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 5:01 PM EDT

Two Tampa neighbors have invented a device aimed at saving children from hot car deaths, and now they're looking for investors.

"We were tired of hearing all these sad stories and seeing the agony on parent's faces," pharmacist Fadi Shamma said.

Shamma, along with electrical engineer Jim Friedman, invented the device they're calling Sense a Life.

"We decided that this is such a serious problem that could probably be solved with a simple solution," said Shamma.

According to Shamma and Friedman, Sense a Life alerts parents and caregivers to safely remove children from a vehicle immediately upon leaving the vehicle themselves.

Sense a Life uses two sensors: one under the child car seat that senses weight and one installed near the driver's side door. When the door opens and a child is in the car seat, a voice alert reminds the driver to take the child out.

The user also receives an alert on their phone. If ignored for a certain amount of time, the alert can also be sent to a second parent or guardian.

Shamma and Friedman plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in April to take the device to production. They say several companies have already expressed interest in mass producing the product, and Sense a Life is already in line for a patent.

Eventually, the entrepreneurs hope to market the product to individuals directly or to car and child car seat manufacturers.

For more information, go to sensealife.com or visit them on Facebook at facebook.com/sensealife.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 30 children died from heat strokes in cars in 2014. That's the latest year for which data is available. Experts say it's the second most common cause of death for children under the age of 14, second only to crashes.