Local family competing in national invention contest

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Cobie Smulders with the White family at Meet the Dreamvention Finalists on September 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Frito-Lay )

A Southington family has been selected as one of five families out of thousands of entries nationwide to compete in the Frito-Lay Variety Packs’ “Dreamvention” contest for a chance to win a grand prize of $250,000.

Jill, Joe, and their daughters Audrey (8) and Mia (6) White entered their invention, the “Kid Safe Switch,” into the competition. The switch itself includes a sensor that can be placed on an oven. It detects body heat, otherwise known as infrared energy, and could detect when someone below the height of the oven-top approaches the oven when the stove is on.

When the switch is on, the sensor will create a protective grid around the hot stove. When a child approaches the oven, the devise flashes a light and a loud alarm sounds.

“Not only will the invention deter children from going near the oven,” said the family in a press release, “But it alerts the parent to the potential disaster.”

After being selected as to top five finalists, each family has the opportunity to see their dream inventions come to life. They were joined by “Dreamvention” spokesperson Colbie Smulders, a mother of two and actress from “How I Met Your Mother” to see their ideas be transformed into official prototypes by MAKO Designs + Invent, a full-service consumer product development firm.

The White family’s invention is now available to be voted on at www.MyDreamvention.com through Jan. 6, 2019 alongside the other four families’ inventions.

“We know that every family has their own creative idea that can solve real-life problems that many other families face in their daily lives, but they don’t have an outlet to bring that idea to life,” said Rhasheda Boyd, director of marketing at Frito-Lay North America, in a press release. “We’re so excited that five finalist families can now say they’re one step closer to seeing their dreams come true by participating in the Dreamvention contest. There were so many creative and unique submissions, and we can’t wait to see who America crowns as this year’s winning Dreamvention.”

Other submissions came from the Copland-Frye family out of Michigan, the Kamada family out of Georgia, the Marinkovic-Smitt family out of Illinois, and the Wilson family out of Alabama. All inventions can be viewed online at www.MyDreamvention.com.

Voters can cast one vote per day, per platform, per browser, per device. Once registered, those who vote will also be eligible for a chance to win $1,000. The winner will be announced in early 2019.

Frito-Lay Variety Packs is one of many Frito-Lay North American brands—a division of PepsiCo, Inc.

“At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose—our fundamental belief that the success of our company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around us,” said officials in a press release. “We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to our planet and empowering people around the world enable PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders.”