Starfish app lets parents know when they left their kid in the car

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The Starfish sensor notifies a parent via smartphone when his or her child is left behind in a car.

You hear it on the news way too often: A parent left his or her toddler locked in the car with the windows up on a broiling hot day, just so the parent can run into a bar or casino or supermarket.

According to Starfish founder and inventor Matthew Sheets, an average of 40 American children die each year from hyperthermia in a car. “To me, that was something I could not stand by and watch,” he says.

What if there were an app that reminded them that they are a terrible parent and they better fix the situation immediately?

That’s where Sheets’ ingenious new sensor/app combo, Starfish, comes in. It’s a “weight-activated child car seat smart sensor” that’s currently running a campaign on Kickstarter with a hoped-for December release. The Starfish sensor fits snugly in the child’s car seat and, when it senses that a child is present, it automatically pairs with the parent’s Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth. And then it can notify a parent when he or she thoughtlessly leaves the kid in the car.

When the parent and his or her smartphone leave a “geo-fenced” area of around 20 feet, Starfish automatically notifies the parent that the child may be in danger. Starfish can even notify emergency contacts if the parent hasn’t responded to the notification after five minutes.

This app has the capability of preventing more senseless tragedies from occurring. Which is one of the best uses of technology I’ve heard this year.

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  • Rod

    I would like to point out that these horrible tragedies are not the result of ‘bad’ parents. No one wants to think of themselves as ‘bad’ parents. The sad truth is, this could happen to a lot of normal people… whether it’s the result of a bad day/lack of sleep/etc… the variables are endless. I hope this kickstarter gets funded, and I would really hope that this kind of sensor becomes standard in carseats in the near future!

  • Joe Paone

    Hi Rod, fair point. I’ve changed the headline to reflect it.

  • Jennifer

    After working in the EMS field for over ten years, Ive seen some pretty horrifying sights, sadly which include tragedies involving children. If even ONE child is death or injury is prevented by using of this Starfish device, then it will have served its purpose. KUDOS to it’s creator, Mr Sheets. Well done, sir. I will definitely be following your progress! :)