New Sensor Could Help Prevent Child Hot Car Deaths
An Israeli company has developed a sensor that could detect even the slightest movement from a human or object anywhere in the vehicle. According to a Fox News report, this technology is being viewed as the answer to the heartbreaking problem of hot car infant fatalities. In 2016 alone, 42 children died as a result of being left in hot vehicles. Such a sensor could help prevent these tragedies.
A Sophisticated Sensor
The company, Guardian Optical Technologies, created the sensor that provides all necessary information regarding the vehicle’s occupants. It tells you how many occupants are in the vehicle, where they are sitting, their physical size and even their posture. The company’s CEO, Gil Dotan, said they want to put the sensors in cars by 2020.
In addition to occupant information, the sensor may also have future applications such as triggering the start of the air conditioning, initiating alarms to sound or alerting help with a call being sent out to family members. The sensor will give the vehicle the ability to prevent the driver from locking the vehicle, start the horn or call the police. These sensors are typically placed in the middle cabin of the car.
Why Hot Cars Are Dangerous
Heat stroke or hyperthermia is the biggest danger of leaving a child in a hot car. Heat stroke can damage the brain and other vital organs and could even lead to death. It doesn’t take long for a child’s body temperature to become too high very fast when left in a car because the temperature inside a car can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and 40 degrees in an hour.
A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body. This is because children have a lot of body surface area that absorbs heat. Also children’s bodies have not yet developed the ability to cool down well. While most children who have died from heat stroke after being left alone in a car were 3 and under, it has happened to children as old as 14.
What Precautions Can You Take?
We hope this technology becomes available to consumers soon so these tragic deaths can be prevented. There are steps we can all take to prevent these deaths in the meantime. Set up a system to check the backseat of your car for your child every time you get out. Leave something you need in the backseat such as briefcase, cell phone or purse. This way, you will get a chance to scan the backseat before you lock your vehicle. You may also ask your daycare provider to call you within a few minutes if your child is late for daycare.