It's a staggering statistic and saddening story: Each year, an average of 37 children die in hot cars. With the weather warming up, a quick trip to the store can have serious consequences for children left waiting or forgotten in the backseat.
Luckily, technology is on the rise that can prevent these types of tragedies. Cars.com editor-in-chief Jenni Newman is sharing a few high-tech and low-tech ways to help parents prevent in-car heat stroke. Here are her top seven tips.
1. To help prevent in-car heatstroke, never leave your child alone in the car, even if you are just running into the store for a quick errand. On a warm day, a child’s body temperature can rise as much as five times faster than an adult, so even a few minutes alone in a hot vehicle can result in heatstroke.
2. Three automakers cater to families with in-car systems that signal that there may be a child in the backseat after the car is parked. GM’s Rear Seat Reminder system uses an audible chime and a message on the instrument panel to remind the driver to check the backseat after the vehicle has been turned off. Nissan has a Rear Door Alert System. If the vehicle’s rear door was opened at the start of a trip, the vehicle will honk its horn several times to remind the driver to check the rear seat after the vehicle is parked and the driver has exited the car. Hyundai’s Rear Occupant Alert system monitors the backseat with an ultrasonic sensor. If a child is detected, the system displays a reminder for the driver in the instrument panel. If the driver leaves the car, the system honks the horn, flashes the lights and sends an alert to the driver’s smartphone.
3. Evenflo offers its SensorSafe lineup of child-safety seats that emit a tone once the car is turned off to alert adults that there’s a child in the backseat. The car seat lineup comes with a chest clip transmitter and a receiver plug that’s inserted into a car’s data diagnostics port. The receiver plug can tell when the car is running. If the car seat’s chest clip remains fastened after the car is turned off, an alarm sounds to remind the driver of the child in the backseat. The SensorSafe lineup includes infant car seats, convertible car seats, a combination car seat and an all-in-one car seat and typically costs $60-$280.
4. The iRemind Car Seat Alarm uses a sensor pad and an iPhone to help remind weary parents when they’ve left their little one in their car seat. The sensor pad is inserted under the cushion of your child’s car seat. Once the child is placed in the car seat, the alarm system beeps to let you know it’s activated and has synced with the smartphone app. The app will emit an alarm if you walk more than 15 feet away from your car with the child still in the car seat. The alarm system typically costs around $99.
5. The Kars4Kids app uses Bluetooth to sound an alarm in your car’s speakers when you and your phone leave the car. The app is free and can be disabled when you’re not traveling with your child. It’s only available on Android currently.
6. Leave yourself a non-technological reminder by putting a purse, backpack, or cell phone in the backseat. This will force you to open your rear door when you park the car, so that no matter how fast your day is moving and how distracted you may be, you won’t forget your item or your child.
7. If you see a child left alone in a vehicle, call 911. It’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations.
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