A new car seat with the potential to save lives is now available for purchase.
The Evenflo Advanced Embrace with SensorSafe infant car seat, available at Wal-Mart, aims to cut down on the number of deaths resulting from children being left in hot cars.
An average of 38 children die from being trapped inside cars every year, according to the nonprofit KidsAndCars.org. Many of these deaths occur when parents forget to drop their child off at daycare before work.
To ensure that parents remember their little one in the backseat, the Evenflo car seat has a sensor on the seat harness that triggers a series of tones if the child is still buckled in when the ignition is switched off. The seat works with with cars built on or after 2008.
While similar technology exists in other attachments and mobile apps, this is the first car seat to have the feature built in.
"This is the first time where I can say with a great deal of confidence that there is something that works, and you've got some big companies behind it, and it will save lives," Jannette E. Fennell, the president and founder of KidsAndCars.org, told CNN. She emphasized the convenience of not having to “anything extra” after the initial activation of the car seat.
But the impact of the technology depends entirely on whether parents are willing to buy it, San Jose State meteorologist Jan Null points out. Many people don’t feel the need to buy precautionary products such as the Evenflo car seat because they don’t believe they would ever forget their child in the car in the first place.
The most effective solution to the problem, Mr. Null says, is increased awareness of how frequently these things really do happen.
“We’ve only had 10 deaths so far this year,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Last year, at this time, we had 20. I think the media is doing a better job of covering this problem and parents are becoming more aware that it could happen to them.”
For parents that would rather not invest in the $150 Evenflo car seat, there are some cheaper DIY tricks for remembering your child. Some safety groups recommend removing your left shoe and placing it in the backseat before driving, so that when you get out of the car you’re reminded of where it is. You can also place a teddy bear in the passenger seat whenever your child is in the car.
More safety tips can be found at KidsAndCars.org.