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New technology could prevent hot car-related child deaths

July 12,2016 04:10

Raleigh, N.C. — Could a technology for car seats prevent childhood deaths? Consumer Reports studied a new tool that alerts parents and guardians when they leave babies and toddlers sitting in a hot car. Each year, almost 40 children die of heatstroke ...and more »



Consumer Reports: SensorSafe car seat

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Raleigh, N.C. — Could a technology for car seats prevent childhood deaths? Consumer Reports studied a new tool that alerts parents and guardians when they leave babies and toddlers sitting in a hot car.
Each year, almost 40 children die of heatstroke inside vehicles. In May, an 8-month-old died in Wilmington after her mom left her in a car all day while she was at work.
Unfortunately, this is just one example of an ongoing problem. According to kidsandcars.org, more than 220 children have died after being trapped inside hot cars since 2010.
The problem isn't just prevalent in the summer, either. Even when it's only 70 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can quickly hit a fatal 120 degrees.
Now, a new technology attached to car seats is attempting to prevent these tragedies.
SensorSafe is designed to chime loudly as soon as a car is turned off if a child is still buckled in his or her seat. A chest clip is activated when the child is buckled and the car is in motion, enabling it to communicate with a wireless receiver plugged into the onboard diagnostic port.
Right now, only one car seat - the Evenflo Embrace infant seat - features SensorSafe. Consumer Reports tested this special car seat in 25 different cars and found that it worked in most vehicles, but not all.
“If your car is model year 2008 or newer, the standard receiver will work," said Consumer Reports' Emily Thomas. "But if you have a hybrid vehicle or your car stops and starts when idling, then you need to get the alternate receiver.”
Before you buy a seat with SensorSafe, try it in your car to be sure it connects and chimes when you turn off the motor, Consumer Reports officials say. If you’re having problems installing the system, you can call Evenflo’s ParentLink at 800-233-5921 to notify them of the issue.
“The SensorSafe technology isn’t perfect yet, but it definitely shows promise," said Thomas. "We believe that the best reminder technology is going to be one that’s integrated either into your vehicle or into your child safety seat, and Evenflo has provided a solution.”
You can learn more about the SensorSafe car seat at consumerreports.org.

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