Bottom Line: Tech to stop tragic deaths in hot cars
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - It’s a surprising and sad statistic reported year after year: On average, it’s estimated that 38 children die in hot cars each year.
Children’s bodies can’t efficiently regulate their temperature, and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, their bodies can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.
Simply put: It’s never safe to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even if it doesn’t feel particularly warm, you’re parked in the shade, or you’ve cracked a window.
And soon new technology could remind parents if they leave behind a child or pet in the car. Federal regulators cleared the way for car manufacturers to install highly sensitive in-car radar systems that can monitor for children left in the car and alert the driver to take action.
This new technology has the potential to save lives by not just reminding parents to check the back seat but also detecting an occupant. But it will be a long time before we see it in every car. So it’s important to remain vigilant about the ongoing danger of children and pets dying in hot cars.
Some cars are already equipped with systems that can remind drivers to check the back seat, but those systems don’t account for every situation, which is why it’s important for parents to always remember to check.
You should get into the habit of putting a personal item, like your phone or laptop bag, in the back seat even if your child isn’t with you. Doing this will force you to check the back seat after every trip.
It can also help to put one of your child’s items in the front seat, like their backpack or jacket. And set up an arrangement with daycare or preschool to give you a call if your child doesn’t show up on a day they’re expected to. That could prompt you to check the back seat.
And if you see children in a locked car, call 911 to get them out immediately.
Even though you may be driving less these days, these tragedies can still happen to kids who get into cars on their own. So even if you don’t have kids, it’s important to always keep your vehicles locked and your keys out of their reach.
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