Two Arkansas teens honored for inventing device to prevent hot car deaths

Tyler Duke, 13, and Mason Covington, 14, pose with the Baby Saver 2000 in this photo from the Arkansas Children's Foundation.

For the first time in the award's history, two youngsters received an Arkansas Children's Foundation honor reserved for outstanding service to children, the group announced Wednesday.

Tyler Duke, 13, and Mason Covington, 14, were given the Betty A. Lowe, MD Award after inventing a device to prevent hot car deaths, according to a news release.

The award is named for the woman who served as the Arkansas Children's Hospital medical director from 1977 to 2001. It was first bestowed in 2002.

In 2016, Tyler and Mason were inspired by their robotics teacher at Beebe Junior High School, Tate Rector, to invent a product that can attach to any car seat. They'd assessed national statistics and realized about 40 children die each year from vehicular heatstroke.

With assistance from the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, the boys developed the Baby Saver 2000. It registers the weight in the car seat through a pressure sensor and also keeps tabs on the inside temperature.

Once a car eclipses a certain temperature, and there's weight in the car seat, a sensor in the key fob engages the panic button to alert the car owner.

"These young men identified a problem that is a public health issue, discovered an intervention and then worked diligently to find a solution," Dr. Jayant Deshpande, the hospital's chief medical officer, said in the statement.

To take the product to market, the teens were given a $10,000 check from an endowment aimed at improving Arkansas kids' health.

Metro on 10/19/2017