It's a fatal lapse of memory: The parent leaves the car, locks the door, and takes off, child still in the backseat, with the windows rolled up and the temperature rising.
Automakers once touted technology to solve the problem: General Motors promised radar sensors that would sound an alarm in 2001. Ford promised new camera technology that would tangentially prevent heatstroke prevention, reported NBC News last month.
But in an illuminating piece Wednesday, The Washington Post traced the development of such technology. While GM, Ford, and Chrysler have no product plans lined up for the near future, many parents and young entrepreneurs have taken the matter into their own hands.
The report follows a summer that has seen the deaths of a 22-month-old after his father left the boy alone in a hot car for seven hours, a 15-month-old boy in Connecticut who was left in a vehicle on a day when the temperature reached 88 degrees, and a 10-month-old girl in Kansas who was found unresponsive in a car parked outside her foster parents' house.
Rebecca Robbins of The Washington Post outlined the options:
- The Aneiros Child Car Seat Safety System
What It Does: Alerts parents and can activate air conditioning inside the car. Here's the crowdfunding campaign.
- Hot Seat
What It Does: It sounds alarms through a pressure sensor pad that's linked to a parent's key fob. The crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $20,000.
What It Does: Also a sensor, but it's weight-activated and sends parents a smartphone alert if they walk too far away from their car. Its in the middle of its Kickstarter campaign.
- Precious Cargo
How It Works: It's an app that connects with a car's Bluetooth device to set off an alarm for parents when they turn off the car.
- Remember the Kids
How It Works: An algorithm tracks the parent's movements, and then the app sends an alert asks "Did you Remember the Kids?" when the parent stops moving for three minutes or longer.
- E-Z Baby Saver
How It Works: This one's not as hi-tech as the others. It uses a chain of rubber bands to force parents to pause while exiting the car and indirectly reminds them to look in the back seat.