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Vehicle safety remains a prominent automotive issue for engineers, consumers, and government regulators. One area that merits attention is the safety issue of when a child is left alone in a parked vehicle during the summer months when the ambient air temperatures are warmer. Injuries and deaths of infants, young children, and elderly adults have occurred due to elevated body temperatures for prolonged time periods. One proposed solution is the design of a car safety seat that offers temporary thermal protection to the occupant. This seat features thermoelectric cooling and forced air convection to maintain the body temperature within acceptable ranges for a limited time. In this paper, a system thermal model and experimental results are presented to validate the effectiveness of the thermoelectric-based safety system. The experimental system demonstrates the capability of maintaining localized cabin air temperatures below critical survivability thresholds in a closed parked vehicle for up to 95 minutes. This represents an 85% increase over standard child seating units, in cabin temperatures up to 69°C, for an emulated 7 kg infant.
Date of Publication: Jun 2012