By Sasha Emmons
A team of high school kids has come up with a brilliant idea: a toddler T-shirt that automatically inflates if it gets soaking wet--kind of like an air bag for water accidents-while also sounding an alarm for help. Called the Wawawescue, it's intended to keep kids who are playing near water safe from drowning accidents.
What's even cooler than the product itself? The fact that an all-girl team from Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona invented it. Now they have been selected for the InvenTeams Program, an initiative to encourage interest in math and science. The girls will receive up to $10,000 to develop their product, with mentoring from experts in the field along the way.
The team was inspired to make the product when it discovered that 46 people, 15 of them kids, had drowned in the first half of 2012. The ingenious design features a dissolvable bobbin that is only triggered if the child is immersed in water, not just running under a sprinkler. It's not meant to replace a life jacket, just to provide peace of mind for parents when their kids are playing near water.