Special Report

Everyday Products Invented by Kids

Source: 5second / iStock

5. Makin’ Bacon
> Invented by: Abby Fleck
> Age when invented: 8
> Invented in: 1991

Anyone who’s cooked bacon knows one of the biggest problems is sopping up the grease. Abby Fleck and her dad figured it out. They hung strips of bacon on wooden dowels while cooking bacon in a microwave to let the grease drip on to a plate. After taking their idea to several retailers, the Fleck family struck a distribution agreement with Walmart and they became multi-millionaires.

Source: TEDx Talks / YouTube

4. Hot Seat
> Invented by: Alissa Chavez
> Age when invented: 14
> Invented in: 2010

As a teenager from New Mexico, Alissa Chavez invented a device that alerts people if a small child is left alone in car. An alarm goes off on a fob, smartphone, or the car itself if the responsible adult walks more than 10 feet away from the child. Chavez said she was inspired to create the device because her mother operates a home daycare facility and was concerned about children being dying in overheated cars.

Source: burakkarademir / iStock

3. Earmuffs
> Invented by: Chester Greenwood
> Age when invented: 15
> Invented in: 1873

Like many teenagers who live in Maine, Chester Greenwood loved to go ice skating. However, he was allergic to wool hats — the only real option in ear protection at the time. So Greenwood asked his grandmother to sew beaver fur or flannel on a wire headband that had hoops at either end. Whether or not these were the first earmuffs or merely an improvement on the existing invention remains a matter of debate. Either way, the popularity of the item took off and Greenwood went on to build a factory to produce earmuffs. Greenwood didn’t stop inventing, eventually accumulating more than 100 patents.

Source: LightFieldStudios / iStock

2. Kiddie Stool
> Invented by: Jeannie Low
> Age when invented: 11
> Invented in: 1992

Space is a big issue in kindergarten classrooms, and Jeannie Low found a way to maximize it. Low, who is from Houston, devised a folding stool that slides underneath a desk and is attached to a vanity with magnets, keeping the classroom organized. Low’s invention won first prize at Houston’s invention fair. Her invention received a patent in 1992.

Source: Alex Deans / Facebook

1. iAid
> Invented by: Alex Deans
> Age when invented: 15
> Invented in: 2012

Alex Deans, a youngster from Canada, was helping a visually impaired woman cross a street when he was 12. He asked her if there was any technology that could help blind people, and he was told there was not. That conversation stayed in his mind, and inspired him to invent iAid, a device that assists visually impaired people to move around with greater ease. The device acts like a sonar and uses sensors affixed to a belt that map out the area around a person.