Cambridgeshire mum-of-two seeks investors for her baby car seat invention that could prevent seizures
Former Met Police officer Lisa Walford creates Safe Sleep Seat which can be reclined at touch of a button by driver
It is a problem familiar to all parents whose baby has fallen asleep in the car: How can you recline the car seat while driving?
Mother-of-two Lisa Walford, of Caldecote, has the solution: She has invented the Safe Sleep Seat, which can be reclined at the touch of a button by a driver.
Lisa says the seat can help prevent the nightmare of sleeping babies being deprived of oxygen in the car when their head flops forward.
She has developed a prototype, generated interest from major companies and already won awards for the concept.
Now she is seeking lead investors for her company, Baby Safe.
If she can secure them, Lisa will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise the remainder of the £180,000 needed to bring the product to market.
“It was my eldest daughter who gave me the idea,” Lisa told the Cambridge Independent. “Every time we went out in the car, she’d fall asleep. Then you have the issue of trying to recline the seat while you’re driving. A lot of mums I’ve spoken to have said the same thing. You don’t want to get out, so you try to reach back but it’s dangerous to do that.”
Lisa had first-hand experience of the aftermath of road accidents while working as a Met police officer. After leaving the force in 2013, these experiences encouraged her to make her idea a reality.
“I did a baby show at ExCeL and all I had was the concept boards and the response was amazing,” she recalled.
“I bought a baby seat that was on the market and found a design company in Cambridge. They created the prototype in six weeks.
“Rather than recline manually, it’s got a wireless button that attaches to the steering wheel or can be placed on a holder on a windscreen.
“There have been a lot of stories about babies suffocating and having seizures, which is awful. I want to get the seat out but I also want to bring this to the forefront.”
In April, three-week-old Harper Clark stopped breathing and was left foaming at the mouth after a two-hour car journey left her starved of oxygen.
Parents Kirsti Clark, 28, and Christopher Clark, 29, from Falkirk in Scotland, rushed Harper to hospital, where doctors managed to resuscitate her. A consultant warned them that babies’ oxygen levels can plummet after an hour in the car.
In 2015, 11-week-old Shepard Dodd died after he was left sleeping in a car seat at a daycare centre in Oklahoma. Medics say babies should be in car seats only when travelling.
Lisa said: “A windpipe is like a straw. When it bends it restricts oxygen intake and as babies’ heads are 25 per cent of their body weight and their neck muscles are weak, they can suffer from breathing difficulties as they aren’t able to lift their head unaided. This is relevant to babies from birth to approximately six months old. A neonatal nurse who is designing the seat with me has done two years of research into this.”
Lisa, who won a concept award from the Baby Products Association, has had a patent granted for her technology, which also protects an associated app.
The seat, which will go through safety testing to ensure it is compliant with iSize and EU regulations, also has a manual rotation system to help you lift your baby in and out the car.
“I’ve got retailers and car manufacturers who are interested but they won’t make an order until they see a finished, fully-tested seat, which is fair enough, so now I need investment.”
She is confident that with lead investors on board she could raise the rest required.
“This has the potential to be a global business,” she said.
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