The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers have announced that auditory and visual alert systems will be installed in “nearly 100 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicles” by 2025 to remind drivers to check the back seat when exiting the car. The system will be activated when a person turns off the car.
According to Kidsandcars.org, these systems are not viable because they use technology that relies on detecting whether a rear door is opened before the start of a drive. For example, if you place your child in the back seat and then start the car — the alert system is activated. However, if you then make a quick stop in which you turn off the car and start the car again — without opening the back door — the system will not remind you to check the back seat when you next turn off your car because you did not open the door prior to starting the car a second time. Safety advocates are pushing car manufacturers to install in-seat sensors that detect a child rather than utilizing systems that rely on the opening or closing of a back door.
Parents should take precautions when parking their cars at home. According to KidsAndCars.org, nearly one-third of hot car deaths are due to children climbing into cars when adults are not around.
A number of apps are available to remind people to check the back seat to be certain a child is not left behind. In addition, some child car sears also have alarm features that can help remind drivers that a child is in the vehicle.
Ultimately, it’s important to note that children should never be left alone in a car. The Safety Council notes that on a 70-degree day it takes just 15 minutes for the car to reach 96 degrees and on an 80-degree day a car can reach 100 degrees in 10 minutes.