Wilson middle school student wins $20,000 for invention that could save children from hot cars

WILSON, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wilson middle school student is on a mission to prevent children from dying after being left behind in hot cars.

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

The 12-year-old just won a $20,000 prize for her "Beat The Heat" car seat.

"It's something that's happening in the real world that I knew could be fixed," Lydia said. "And no one has come up with a cheap way to fix it that people can afford."

Lydia's device has a pressure pad that checks the temperature when something five pounds or greater is placed in a car seat. Lydia thinks the cost to consumers would be about $50.

Last year, more than 30 children died across the country after being left in a car seat in a hot car.

Lydia won the grand prize in the CITGO Fueling Education Student Challenge. It's a contest that encourages kids to use STEM skills.

She is hoping the $20,000 in prize money will help her market the Beat The Heat Car Seat.

Lydia had help with her invention from her 14-year-old brother and 10-year-old sister.

"Once I made the prototype, I called in my brother, who is really great at coding, and my sister, who's a good peacemaker," she said. "When we would get frustrated, she would help bring us snacks and she helped us design it to make it better."

Lydia's mom is a science teacher who says it was exciting to watch her children working together.

"Kids don't know what impossible is. They dream so big," said Covey Denton. "Lydia has proven that to me time and time again and told me, 'It's not impossible, Mom, you just think it's going to be. I can do this.'"
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