'Trip home from hospital with my daughters inspired my life-saving device'
A Dublin mum has said the birth of her daughters inspired an invention that could save the lives of thousands of babies.
Entrepreneur Christine Carolan, from Tyrrelstown, West Dublin, has been tipped for major commercial success thanks to her creation, the Cosynest baby wrap.
The safety device allows babies to be better secured into their car seat by doing away with the need to put straps over bulky clothes.
High-speed crash testing has shown that the product came out as the safest, compared with a conventional snow-suit-style restraint.
Speaking to the Herald, Ms Carolan credited the birth of her daughters, Eve in 2008 and Sophie in 2009, with inspiring the idea.
"It was really bringing the baby back from the hospital," she said. "I put my daughter in the car, and it was cold so I put a snow suit on her, but she would be overheating.
"As a mother you do a lot of driving with the baby in the car."
Ms Carolan said she also noticed the problem of restraints that could come loose.
In 2012 she got the opportunity to pursue the idea as a business, and received help from the local enterprise office, LEO Fingal.
"They were very good. I did a course where I learnt about running the business and they gave me a €5,000 innovation grant," she said.
Ms Carolan continued her work with the help of Trinity College Dublin, and the prod-uct will be formally launched today.
She said that safety was at the forefront of her mind when developing the Cosynest.
"A jacket on a baby is bulky material," she said.
"The car seat strap may seem snug on the baby, but in an accident this material compresses, making the gap between the baby and the car seat strap greater.
"Our Cosynest allows the car seat straps to be as snug and safe as possible, while keeping the child warm and cosy."
A crash test funded by Enterprise Ireland was undertaken in February by the UK's Transport Research Laboratory.
In the case of the traditional snow suit, one of the child restraints partly came off during the test, which greatly increases the risk of ejection and injury.
Both restraints remained in place with the Cosynest as the design ensures they fit closer to the body as there is less fabric in between.
Ciaran Simms, an associate professor of biomechanical engineering at Trinity, said that retaining the child in its car seat is crucial to the its safety.
"The Cosynest showed a better capacity to retain the child in the seat than a conventional snow suit," he said.
Last year, Ms Carolan completed the first production run of the product and she sold more than 1,200 Cosynests throughout Ireland.
At the moment, the product is being made in China, but Ms Carolan said that she hoped to grow the business and create more employment in Ireland.
Cosynest was launched on to the international market through Kickstarter.com, where it can be bought at the early-bird price of €26.