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Wristbands could help save children's lives
19 June 2017
Jarrad Dober and his brother Courtney (above) live on Sydney’s northern beaches. Both brothers work in the school system, including in after school care, and between them have 20 years’ experience with children and young adults.
A few years ago, the brothers began an online business called CleverDux.
“Do you know how many children forget to come to after-school care?” Courtney asks me as we chat on the phone about the brothers’ fledgling business.
“Three or four kids, every day,” he tells me. He also knows from colleagues in larger schools it can be up to 20 children.
“Parents had tried everything,” he tells me. “They wrote on their child’s hand; put notes in pockets and told teachers.
“Jarrad and I thought there must be a whole of school approach that can help solve this, and that’s when we came up with the coloured silicon reminder bands for kids which they wear on days they’re going to after-school care.”
No one forgets now in the schools at which the brothers’ bands are used.
What Jarrad and Courtney didn’t know was that the reminder bands, which are now in 350 public schools, nationally, would lead them on to ‘life-saving’ developments - and careers as entrepreneurs. The reminder band idea has been developed into an identification-and-monitoring system for children with asthma, allergies and medical conditions. The system is called: “See and Save” (below).
“See and Save” is a simple, wearable, visual solution for children suffering medical conditions. Each band is coloured in the official colours for the condition and printed with the word ‘Asthma’, ‘Allergy’, ‘Anaphylaxis’, ‘Epilepsy’, ‘Diabetes’. (CleverDux can also tailor make bands for children with other conditions.) Children suffering a particular condition wear the wristband that identifies their medical condition. Teachers, casual staff, educators, coaches, can then identify and correctly monitor the health of a child wearing a wristband.
The reminder band system is also paired with a simple education program to teach children about the various conditions. At present that system covers the more prevalent medical conditions of asthma, allergies, anaphylaxis (a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction), epilepsy and diabetes. Classroom and playground posters, for example, highlight the signs and symptoms for which to look out. Children develop a better understanding about what may be happening if their friend is asthmatic for example and having an asthma attack. Kids can become “See and Save Superheros”, aiding in first response time should anything go wrong.
“Working in after-school care we see kids running around all the time,” says Courtney.
“They’ll tell you they’re tired, hot; they’ll be red-faced, puffing – they’re all the signs of a healthy child. The problem for carers and teachers is they can also be the signs of an impending asthma attack and anaphylaxis. A medical emergency wristband can help you identify and correctly monitor kids who wear them,” Courtney explains.
“Our mission with “See and Save” is to ensure no parent has to experience the preventable hospitalisation or death of their child due to these conditions,” he finishes.
According to research compiled by the brothers, Australia has the highest prevalence of asthma and allergies in the world, closely followed by the USA. (Food allergy rates are actually expected to double in the next 50 years.)
When it comes to asthma, for example, one in 10 children has asthma. One in 10 children 0-4 years of age has a food allergy. Approximately one in 60 children has anaphylaxis.
The average primary school classroom of 25 children will have seven children with asthma or allergies. The most common age for asthma hospitalisations is children aged zero to 14 and the most common cause of these hospitalisations is misdiagnosis or not knowing the child’s medical needs.
Currently, the “See and Save” system is being used in more than 120 schools and centres in Australia.
Courtney explains “See and Save” was recently trialled in 10 primary schools across NSW with feedback from over 150 teachers. More than 95 percent agreed “See and Save” increased their confidence in being able to identify, monitor and treat children with medical conditions from day one. Initial research data showed only two in 10 teachers felt confident in achieving this.
See and Save wristbands are now available to individual parents, carers and families online form CleverDux and they are free.
CleverDux and the “See and Save” system is a Westpac 200 Businesses of Tomorrow winner.
In February, this year, business acceleration program MassChallenge selected CleverDux as one of Australia’s top 10 most exciting and influential start-up companies. Courtney and Jarrad flew to the US to share the idea at a MassChallenge event in Boston, and are now planning an international implementation of the “See and Save” system.
Courtney explains he spends much of his time working on the business, but that both brothers remain in the school and childcare system for love and money: “We need it for cash flow.”