General Motors (GM) has created a new feature for their vehicles in hopes of preventing children from being left in cars. The technology works similar to a seatbelt alarm. Upon exiting the vehicle, an alarm will go off with a message that says to check the back seat. The feature will come standard in all new 2017 GMC Acadias. The technology will be enabled but consumers may turn the feature off if they wish. The Acadia is the first model to have this new feature but GM plans to implement the new technology in more GM 4 door vehicles in the future.
Heatstroke can happen to a child left in a vehicle with relatively moderate temperatures outside such as 70 degrees. A car’s internal temperature can increase 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. Dark dash boards, seats and steering wheels attract sunlight and give off radiation which can warm the air around. The total number of U.S. heatstroke deaths of children left in cars so far this year is 24. In 2015, there were a total of 24 heatstroke deaths in the U.S. Twenty states, including Pennsylvania, have laws against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.
Most children who were left in hot vehicles alone were forgotten about by adults exiting the vehicle. Other reports indicate that children ended up in hot vehicles unattended by climbing into the vehicles on their own.
To ensure the safety of your children this summer, never leave your child unattended in a vehicle. Try placing an item in your backseat such as a purse or wallet as a reminder. Always lock your vehicle and keep keys out of children’s reach. Make sure children understand the importance of never entering a vehicle alone.
If you see a child left in hot vehicle, call for help immediately.
Source: Department of Geosciences, “Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles.”