This post is brought to you by Driver’s Little Helper.
When I was a toddler there was an incident. My Mom left me in the back seat of the car while she ran back into the house for something. She was gone like one minute. During that period of time, I managed to get myself out of my car seat,at which point I crawled over the back side of the front seat into the front seat. It’s been over 45 years now so I have no idea exactly what was on my mind, but if I had to guess it was probably something simple like “sit in the front seat like a big girl”. Which is exactly what I did. Unfortunately, while doing so, I also managed to get the car out of park, at which point it rolled out into the street. Fortunately for everyone involved, my Mom came out just in time to get to me and the car. My Mom always tried to be responsible with all of us kids. Sometimes we just don’t think about what can happen in one instant. Which is why on that day, my Mom could have used Driver’s Little Helper.
Driver’s Little Helper is a revolutionary new stand-alone smartphone-enabled car seat system. The system will monitor and alert parents and caregivers if a child leaves the car seat, if the temperature inside the car gets too hot or cold, or if a child is left in the seat for several minutes after the vehicle has stopped moving.
Advanced technology with these capabilities sounds like something you’d imagine seeing down the road. Well, it may sound futuristic, but it’s very much here and now. One might think that the system could only be used on new car seats. That’s not the case. Driver’s Little Helper works with any car seat.
The Driver’s Little Helper system includes a pad that fits between the car seat molding and the fabric cover; a battery-powered monitor; a simple Let’s Get Started instructional sheet which features Ryder, the Driver’s Little Helper icon; as well as stickers for the child, and a storybook, titled Dino Ryder. Batteries are also included. The system is protected by a U.S. patent; multiple other patents are pending.
Technology like this doesn’t happen overnight.
Bob Steffen, founder and CEO of St. Louis-based Cars-N-Kids, and developer of the product, has put years into the system. Steffen, who worked in the auto industry, and his colleague, an automotive engineer, had developed an earlier prototype of the product named iAlert that came already installed on car seats manufactured by Tomy International in 2013. Tomy exited the children’s product category in early 2014. Steffen continued working on a stand-alone version that was affordable, technologically more advanced, and that could be used in any car seat.
Why is a system like this needed?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, children 14 and younger who were unrestrained accounted for nearly 170,000 car injuries, 1,100 of them fatalities. In addition, heatstroke is the number one cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths of children, and an additional 37 children die annually from being left in a car.
“Driver’s Little Helper provides peace of mind to caregivers and parents when driving with children in a motor vehicle,” said Bob Steffen, founder and CEO of St. Louis-based Cars-N-Kids, and developer of the product. “Research shows children become unrestrained, they overheat, and car accidents do happen. Without a system to monitor children in the backseat, these things will continue to happen. We wear bracelets and utilize apps that monitor the number of steps we take each day, how many calories we are ingesting, and how many hours of sleep we are getting. Driver’s Little Helper is an app that will help ensure the safety of our children in the backseat.”
How does it work?
The parent or caregiver removes the car seat’s fabric cover and place the sensor in the center of the seat’s plastic molding. The power pack attaches to the back or side of the car seat or booster. The Driver’s Little Helper app (downloadable from the Apple App Store, Android Play Store or at www.DriversLittleHelper.com) communicates with a sensor inside the car seat to send the phone alerts. If the driver doesn’t respond to the alerts, the system can be configured to send messages to other designated contacts. Driver’s Little Helper operates on Bluetooth Low Energy, which allows it to run more efficiently with a longer battery life. In addition, customers can be notified of system updates through cell phone notifications.
“Our product is unique to the marketplace in that it helps parents by monitoring temperature, movement and arrival,” Steffen said.
Like the proud parent of a new child, Steffen hopes to see Little Driver’s Helper be a go to resource for parents concerned about safety. To that end, he has partnered with digital ad agency Moosylvania of St. Louis, to create not only the system’s brand development, and app, but to coordinate product research, packaging, retail placement, sales and distribution of the product.
“Keeping children safe in and around vehicles has always, and will continue to be, a critical issue,” said Nick Foppe, president and managing partner of equity partner Moosylvania. “Driver’s Little Helper addresses the need for more safety features in the backseat of our cars. While car manufacturers have already addressed our safety as adults in the front seat with the dashboard beeps, what’s going on the in the backseat of our cars is just as important.”
Driver’s Little Helper retails for $79.99 and is available to consumers at www.DriversLittleHelper.com.
Here’s a brief video explaining how Driver’s Little Helper works.
In today’s busy age you can’t be too careful when it comes to your children. This system would be appropriate for folks with newborns that can’t easily always be heard or seen from the front seat, as well as for folks with toddlers that are beginning to explore their limits.