Advocates Push for Technology to Prevent Hot Car Deaths

Due to the recent death of a toddler in Georgia, who was left in a hot car by his father and the alarmingly high rate of deaths that happen each year due to children left alone in hot cars The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and KidandCars.org are teaming up to petition the White House to permit research for technology that could prevent children being left  in hot cars.

They hope to reach 100,000 signatures by August 12 on the petition hosted on the White House’s We the People website, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Thirty-eight children, on average, die in hot cars yearly and more that 670 have died in the past 20 years.  Already 17 deaths have occurred in 2014 due to this issue. The shocking numbers have pushed KidsandCars.org to create the petition in hopes that the U.S. Department of Transportation will fund the research to find a solution to this problem, reports Michelle Quesada for CBS News.

General Motors is on the forefront of this issue for car companies. A decade ago the company tried to develop a solution to this problem, although the results were deemed unreliable. Ford is working on camera technology that will monitor activity inside the car, but no one has been able to find a foolproof, reliable solution, reports Paul A. Eisenstein for NBC News.

“Cole [of the Center for Automotive Research] said it would have to be 100% effective. “If you miss just one kid, if something doesn’t work properly, the implications are enormous. If you miss just one (kid) you have a liability issue.”

He also said there is a privacy concern. “A lot of people don’t want other people to know what’s happening inside the car. They want to blame something other than themselves.”

Car makers are not the only ones coming up with solutions for this problem. In a report by Eliene Augenbraun for CBS News, developers have come out with solutions including smart car seats and proximity clips.

TOMY International began selling a “smart car seat” that has technology capable of communicating from the seat to a parent’s smart phone. The seat will alarm the phone is the seat gets too hot, if the seat is installed improperly or if the child has unbuckled themselves.

However, there is still an issue of reliability according to customer reviews.

Proximity sensors are another way parent’s can get help remembering their child in the back seat. One part of the senor attaches to the car seat and the other is kept with the caretaker, if they get separated an alarm will sound. This will only be effective however if you know he child is buckled in the car.

So for now, safety experts focus their advice on some decidedly low-tech tips — such as putting your purse, wallet or cellphone in the back seat of the car so you won’t forget to check it before leaving the vehicle. NHTSA reminds parents and caregivers that they “are the first line of defense against these needless tragedies–but everyone in the community has a role to play.