New Technology is Helping to Prevent Hot Car Deaths and It’s Pretty Amazing
If you’ve been a parent long enough, you’ve likely settled into a routine. When you take your kid(s) somewhere, you have a certain set of tasks: pack the stroller, add the diaper bag, bring snacks and drinks, and maybe a toy or two. You grab extra wipes and a change of clothes—after all, you never know when an accident will strike. You ensure your child is secured in a car seat, buckle them in, and drive off.
If you’ve parented in the summer months, the added heat can make your usual routine a bit scarier. Buckling your kid into a car seat isn’t just a protective precaution—it could also be a death sentence if you don’t pay attention. The annual average for hot car deaths, which include kids who play in cars and accidentally lock themselves in, is around 37 per year. However, the past few years have seen an uptick in the numbers. It’s happening more than ever, and nobody really knows why. I hypothesize that parents are busier and more distracted than ever, and that distraction has a fatal consequence.
There are, of course, simple things parents can do. I like to leave my wallet in the back seat to ensure I remember to, you know, bring my baby with me. Some daycare centers have alert systems where they will communicate with the parent if a child is just a few minutes late. Some parents set up their own systems, like texting each other daily once the child has been brought where he or she needs to go to ensure safety.
It seems, however, that car manufacturers are beginning to take notice of this persisting anxiety among parents. They’re developing technology that could prevent hot car deaths. GM was the first to come out with a system to fight this problem. Called the Rear Seat Reminder System, this technology chimes at the end of your trip if you had opened your back doors at the start of your trip. Pretty ingenious, right?
Nissan has also developed a new technology called the Rear Door Alert System. Though only available in the 2018 Pathfinder, it includes a message that will display on the center panel. The car horn will honk if you had previously opened the back doors. The technology, apparently, was spurred by a pan of lasagna left in a backseat overnight.
Hyundai also has a system, but it’s slightly different. Called the Real Occupant Alert System, this technology has a movement sensor in the backseat, and it will flash its headlights and honk its horn if movement is detected once you’ve exited the vehicle.
So, if you’re a new parent and in the market for a new car, as your dealership about these offerings. Though they’re only available on specific car models, it might be worth the upgrade for that lovely peace of mind.