[dropcaps]E[/dropcaps]very summer, stories surface of caregivers who accidentally leave a little one in the car, often with horrific consequences. Tech companies have stepped in to offer parents life-saving solutions, with the hope that, once again, technology can help where human memory fails. Find out which options provide reliable assistance and which ones fall short.
Intel’s Smart Clip
Usually, child car deaths occur when an infant or toddler is left in the car for more than a few minutes. Often, a change in the family transportation schedule or a communication failure results in a memory lapse, and the child is forgotten in the car. The temperature within the vehicle rises to dangerous levels very quickly during the summer. In the winter, prolonged exposure to the cold also becomes a danger.
To combat the problem, Intel developed the Smart Clip, a small device that attaches to any car seat. It replaces the main clip on the car seat straps and rests over the baby’s chest. Inside the clip is a BlueTooth sensor. If you walk too far from the vehicle and the clip remains buckled, the sensor is triggered. The alert goes to your phone, where the Intel Smart Clip app provides additional information such as your baby’s temperature. Every 20 seconds, users receive alerts until they go back and unbuckle the baby from the car seat.
The clip’s sensor can also tell whether or not the car is moving, and it shows that information right under the temperature readout in the app. Once the caregiver unfastens the Intel Smart Clip, the sensor registers that the baby is safely out of the car seat and deactivates the alert.
First Years True Fit IAlert
TOMY International was an early proponent of technology as a life-saver in instances of hot-car death. In 2013, TOMY’s First Years car seats rolled onto the market. Each seat featured motion sensors, angle sensors, and temperature sensors for a complete readout of the child’s condition and safety. Should the seat’s temperature rise too dramatically, the unit sent an alarm to the caregiver’s phone. In addition, it let parents know if the baby was not buckled in while the car was moving, or if the seat was not properly installed in the vehicle. Although the seats worked well when alerting the primary contact, users complained that secondary contacts rarely received the necessary alerts─ and when they did receive them, they were significantly delayed. Currently the seats are unavailable as the company works to address the technical issues.
Evenflo Advanced Embrace
Another high-tech car seat with an emphasis on safety is the Evenflo Advanced SensorSafe Embrace. Walmart offers these seats, which include a hot-car alert system. Released in 2015, this model is in high demand among families with little ones. It features a special sensor with a tone that sounds loudly if the child is still buckled in when the keys are removed from the ignition. With a reasonable price and a wireless receiver that works with the car’s diagnostic system, the product is currently the only crash-tested car seat with this life-saving technology. With successes from Evenflo and Intel, other manufacturers may soon follow, integrating technology into car seats for infants and toddlers.