In a bid to prevent children dying in hot cars, an increasing number of automakers are implementing systems to remind vehicle owners if they leave their child in the back seat.
Recently, The Hot Cars Act of 2017 was introduced in the House and the Senate and while it has yet to be passed into law, car companies have designed a number of simple ways to ensure no parent leaves their child behind, NPR reports.
Among the first on the market was the Rear Seat Reminder system of the 2016 GMC Acadia. It alerts a driver through five distinct chimes if a rear door has been used 10 minutes before or any time when the vehicle is turned on. Since debuting in the Acadia, the feature has become standard among 20 other General Motors vehicles.
Nissan also has its Rear Door Alert which beeps the horn if the rear door is used before driving but not used again at the end of a journey.
Dr. Aditya Belwadi oversees child passenger safety at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is thrilled to see this technology become more commonplace. He has researched numerous ways the technology could be implemented but knows it will take time before being standard equipment for all cars.
“If you bring a new technology in today it’s going to take a good decade before every single car is going to have that.
“These technologies really cannot replace the impact of human behaviour. How do you act? How do you notify the parent? Is it an app? Will it still work if your phone is dead? Is it a warning? Is your car going to honk or lower the windows, switch on the AC, or call 911?” he said.
On average, 37 children in the U.S. die every year after being left in hot cars. It is hoped technologies such as those from Nissan and GM will reduce that figure to zero.