July 5, 2013
After reading about two cases in the last week (Ontario and Alberta) of young children dying because of being left in a car in high heat, my brain has been reeling. Though this doesn’t happen often (on average 38 times per year in the USA, 4-6 times per year in Canada), it seems needless to me. There must be something that can be done to help this from happening (here’s a heart-wrenching article about this topic).
We have alarms in our cars for all sorts of things – door being open, lights being left on after ignition is turned off, and, most related, seat belts not being done up.
I assume the technology for the the former consists of some sort of pressure sensor, and beeps if there is anything above a certain weight in the seat AND the seatbelt is not done up. The one in my car goes off sometimes if I have my work bag in the passenger seat, so clearly the sensor is fairly sensitive.
It makes sense to me that this technology can also be used in the case of a child being left in the car. When the ignition is turned off, an alarm can sound if the pressure on the seat (i.e. baby/child) isn’t removed within a certain time limit (or something like this). This alarm would be heard both inside and outside the car, in case the parent/caregiver has moved away from the car quickly.
I know there are some issues with this – many people sit in cars with the ignition off for many reasons – but there are solutions to that. The “car seat” alarm could be activitated for those who need it, or it could be turned on for only the seat in which the car seat is on.
In this day and age where we can find any bathroom within a 20 km radius with our cell phones, this shouldn’t be that hard.