- (2017 April) Engineering Students at the University of Michigan address safety hazards of baby monitors. Four senior engineering students at the University of Michigan modified an existing baby monitor unit to protect babies from strangulation, choking, and other safety hazards. Six babies have died since 2007 as a result of becoming entangled in their baby monitor’s cord. Bethany Daniel, Madeline Gilleran, Dhruv Madaan, and Ezinwo Weli identified a solution: a retractable cord, inspired by the wire reel on a vacuum cleaner, attached to a motion sensor. When the baby gets near, the sensor sends a signal to the motor to reel the cord until it’s taut, thus eliminating any entanglement or strangulation hazards. The team also addressed safety concerns related to keeping the transmitter at a safe distance from the baby, preventing the battery from overheating, creating a non-intrusive design, and ensuring durability. Though it needs some slight modifications, manufacturers of baby monitors can use the design to address safety issues and ultimately create better products.
- (2016 December) Engineering Students at Northwestern Seek Solutions to Stroller Safety. Four teams of students from Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering tackled the issues of stroller safety. They developed four different strollers, each designed to minimize the risk of baby injuries. The first team created The SafeBaby, which has brakes that only activate when they are released, and uses a buckle that beeps when not strapped in correctly. Another team created the Sensing Stroller. This stroller has handles that vibrate when the seatbelt is not properly on, larger wheels to help prevent the stroller from tipping over, and a warning sound for when the stroller is about to tip over. A third team designed The Suitcase Stroller. This stroller has a bassinet on top which is made so that incase of a fall, the child will not fall out, legs without hinges to prevent injury, folds into a suitcase for good portability, and collapses at the convenient push of a button. The final team created the S4: Storage Solutions Safe Stroller. This is a stroller that has a folding bar to discourage placement of objects on handles, a cargo hook, net, and pouch, larger wheels to prevent tip overs, and an elastic seat buckle holder to make it easier to strap the child in.
- (2016 March) TEST Program Students Develop Tip-Over Free Storage Unit. Senior engineering students at the University of Michigan addressed one of the largest issues in child product safety—furniture tip-overs. Most tip-overs occur in the bedroom with storage units such as dressers. The student team designed a storage unit that could withstand the weight of a child (up to 75lbs) and not tip over. The prototype dresser has two doors in front of the drawers. Each door has four hinges to ensure that the doors do not break and are relatively close to the floor to prevent it from toppling over. The drawers are non-removable—preventing children from pulling them out and thereby causing an injury. Lastly, to account for the tip-over hazard if the doors are closed, the bottom drawer was shortened to allow a space in the back to place heavy items (such as weights, sand, or water jugs) to prevent the dresser from tipping over. Check out more pictures and videos of TEST projects on KID’s Flickr and YouTube accounts.
- (2016 March) Student Engineers at Northwestern Find Ways to Secure Latches
This winter, KID challenged students at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering to develop solutions to the common problem of improper latching mechanisms that often lead to child injuries. The student teams addressed the problem with latches in three products—foldable strollers, a high chair, and a baby gate. Two teams developed strollers with more efficient and safer latching systems. The Shurlock uses a two motion push-slide unlocking mechanism that will prevent children from unintentionally locking and unlocking the stroller. The slide-push motion also makes locking and unlocking the stroller quick and simple—reducing the time children are left unsupervised while folding a stroller. The other team created the EZ Fold, a stroller with a rod mechanism that makes it easier to close and open and also prevents children from unintentionally collapsing the stroller. The second set of teams examined high chairs and baby gates. Improper locking mechanisms on high chairs often lead to child falls and injuries. The student team developed Lockwise, a high chair with a two-motion locking process, distinct locked position to prevent false locking, and a raised table to prevent pinch points. The last team created the Push n Twist, an improved baby gate with a childproof two-step spring locking system. The use of spring force prevents children from being able to unlock the gate and does not damage walls. Check out more pictures and videos of TEST projects on KID’s Flickr and YouTube accounts.
- (2015 June) TEST Program Students Find Ways to Resolve Common Parenting Dilemmas This spring, KID posed two problems to freshmen engineers at Northwestern’s Segal Design Institute. Four teams examined the question: Can you make a safe product that soothes a fussy baby? The students developed products that relied on the baby’s own kicks and wiggling to provide comforting movement, utilized different types of straps to eliminate strangulation hazards, a way to transform a swing into a flat, stationary bassinet without removing the sleeping baby, and one team created an app that encourages parents to use a swing safely and prompts parents to keep their attention on the infant. The second set of teams took on the task of creating a safe environment for a baby to sleep in while travelling. The teams found travelling on an airplane to be an area lacking safe options for sleeping. The students designed the Aerobaby, which provides a cross between an infant soft carrier and hammock for babies to relax in their parents’ lap. Check out pictures and videos of the projects on KID’s Flickr and YouTube accounts.
- (2015 March) Student Engineers at Northwestern Find Solutions to Real-World Hazards This spring, KID worked with two sets of four teams tofind solutions to real-world hazards. One set of teams examined the hazard of tip-overs in furniture and appliances. After analyzing the problem, the teams took existing furniture and designed anti-tip solutions. Such solutions included a trapezoid shaped dresser, a dresser with guards that pull out of the top drawer, a dresser with a wider base incorporating a bench to change the center of gravity, and a lazy Susan type shelving unit to replace a dresser. All designs were stable without a need for wall attachments. The second group took a look at the dangers posed by laundry packets. The teams presented the following design solutions: making the container holding the packets child resistant with highly visible warnings, recyclable balls or mesh that enclosed the packets, and blister pack type coverings. All of the design ideas will be shared with those working on standards and new designs. Check out pictures and videos of the projects on KID’s Flickr and YouTube accounts.
- (2014 August) TEST curriculum and materials now public KID has been in collaboration with The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science (OEC) over the last months preparing the TEST materials for online publication. The TEST curriculum and materials are now a free online resource available to the public. Check it out here, and consider its use for your classroom. Please contact KID if you are interested in bringing TEST to your school or want to volunteer to help build the program.
- (2014 May) KID works with universities during 2013-14 school year by implementing TEST program Through our TEST (Teaching Early Safety Testing) program, KID collaborated with the University of Michigan in portable crib design, with Harvey Mudd College in baby bath seat design, and with Northwestern University on stroller and high-chair designs. These projects can be viewed on our KID YouTube page where engineering students discuss their projects and what they learn through TEST. For updates and to learn more about the TEST program, click here. Please contact KID if you are interested in bringing TEST to your school or want to volunteer to help build the program.
- (2013 August) KID completes TEST program update to the benefit of engineering students nationwide TEST (Teaching Early Safety Testing) program redevelopment has been completed. TEST allows students to actively participate in the design process of a product with safety as a key consideration during all product development stages. The TEST program can be used in its entirety or the resources can be used independently at the professor’s discretion. Materials include PowerPoints, lesson plans, student project ideas and examples, and many other helpful resources. It is KID’s hope this newly updated program will further benefit future engineers and ultimately reduce the number of defective children’s products on the market. For updates and to learn more about the TEST program, click here. Please contact KID if you are interested in bringing TEST to your school or want to volunteer to help build the program.
- (2013 July) KID updating TEST program to provide effective product safety materials to budding engineers This summer KID’s TEST Program is being updated to better serve the needs of undergraduate engineering students and address the changes in regulatory standards and children’s products. TEST gives student engineers and designers the tools they need to integrate safety into any product they design and apply appropriate testing practices and standards to the products. Revisions will include newer examples including recent recalls, integration of requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, and other important updates. KID is also working with ASTM International to expose more students to using standards. Please contact KID if you are interested in bringing TEST to your school or want to volunteer to help build the program.
- (2013 June) Student engineers present TEST design projects at Northwestern Four teams of freshman engineering students recently presented their final design projects involving sleep environments for babies. Here’s the lesson Ryan from the Baby Bungalow team learned, “one thing I learned while working on this project is that you have to design not only for how you want the user to use your product, but for how they’re actually going to use it, because the user is not going to read the instructions, or put the mattress in or fold it up in quite the way that you want to do it. So you have to foresee how they’re going to use the product so that it’s safe and there are no issues with it whatsoever.” Read the final reports:
- (2010 May) KID sponsors student projects at Northwestern University, University of Michigan KID is currently sponsoring two freshman student team projects at Northwestern University to look at safety hazards and design solutions for two juvenile products, baby bath aids and dining booster seats. In the fall, KID worked with a team of seniors at University of Michigan on safety hazards, design solutions and testing requirements for a new type of product, bedside sleepers. Read their final report here.
- (2009 May) KID sponsors student projects at Northwestern University, University of Michigan KID is currently sponsoring two freshman student team projects at Northwestern University to look at safety hazards and design solutions for two juvenile products, baby bath aids and dining booster seats. In the fall, KID worked with a team of seniors at University of Michigan on safety hazards, design solutions and testing requirements for a new type of product, bedside sleepers. Read their final report here.
- (2008 May) KID sponsors student projects at Northwestern University, University of Michigan KID is currently sponsoring two freshman student team projects at Northwestern University to look at safety hazards and design solutions for two juvenile products, baby bath aids and dining booster seats. In the fall, KID worked with a team of seniors at University of Michigan on safety hazards, design solutions and testing requirements for a new type of product, bedside sleepers. Read their final report here.
- (2006 July) KID Showcases TEST at Annual ASEE Conference in June KID presented the TEST curriculum materials at the June Annual Conference of the American Association For Engineering Education (ASEE) in Chicago. Many college and university programs, along with some K-12 programs expressed interest in the program. KID will work with them over the coming year to integrate design safety into the curriculum in their programs.
- (2004 December) TEST advisory committee The Teach Early Safety Testing (TEST) program has expanded its scope in an effort to get a strong local base of universities and community colleges in the Chicago area. This will supplement the larger national programs contacted in the past.The TEST program advisory committee will hold its first phone conference in December. The committee will help steer the project and provide useful insight into both the educational institutions TEST is targeting, and design safety in engineering. The advisory committee is currently helping the KID staff polish the TEST curriculum guide which will be sent to schools. The committee members are:
• Stephan H. Carr, Assoc. Dean for Undergraduate Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University
• Linda Ginzel, KID co-founder, Clinical Professor of Managerial Psychology, University of Chicago
• Barbara R. Guthrie, Director of Consumer Affairs, Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
• Carol Pollack Nelson, Ph. D., Independent Safety Consulting
• Thomas Jacobius, Director, Interprofessional Studies, Illinois Institute of Technology
• Professor David Voltmer, Professor of Electrical and computer Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
• Kristen Weiss, Corporate Giving Program Administrator, Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
- (2004 July) TEST advisory committee and curriculum guide KID has begun formation of the initial advisory committee for the TEST program. KID has already received several commitments to serve on the committee, which will be made up of members of undergraduate engineering programs, the professional engineering community, and testing and consulting firms. The committee will guide KID as we create a safety based engineering module and integrate it into the undergraduate curriculum at several pilot institutions this fall. KID has also taken the curriculum guide for the module to the draft stage. After internal editing and review by the advisory committee, the guide will be ready for use in the pilot programs.
- (2004 June) Michigan Engineering Student Survey To evaluate current safety education in engineering programs, KID surveyed students in the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Michigan. Forty-six students responded, and the results illustrate the need to improve the design safety information reaching students. The students did show understanding of how important standards are in making safe products, but don’t necessarily have enough information to integrate safety into their designs.
- (2003 December) A safer portable crib design A new safer portable crib could be available sooner then you think. Through TEST, KID worked with four engineering seniors at the University of Michigan to develop a safer portable crib. The top rails of the students’ crib eliminate the downward V-shape design that can collapse creating a strangulation hazard that has killed at least sixteen children. As part of the project, the students reviewed Federal and voluntary safety standards, previous incidents and current crib designs. The students are currently applying for a provisional patent, which will protect their design as they refine it. Read the news coverage.
- (2003 September) Integrating safety curriculum KID conducted a mailing of TEST materials to engineering programs, and started discussing integrating TEST’s safety resources and information into the curriculum of nine undergraduate engineering programs: including University of Michigan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Purdue University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
- (2003 July) Safety design literature review KID reviewed current programs and available literature on design safety in engineering education. The result, Teach Early Safety Testing: The Case for Expanded Product Safety Design Training was published by KID in July 2003.