All too often, we hear about a parent leaving their child in a vehicle on a warm day, which may lead to the child’s death. Many parents forget their child was left in the car, become distracted, or think that a quick run into the supermarket won’t cause any harm. General Motors (GM) has found a potential solution to the problem, as the automaker is introducing a new feature on the 2017 GMC Acadia to help prevent these deaths.
CNN Money reports that much like a seat belt alert, a warning tone will sound and a reminder to “Look in Rear Seat” will be displayed in the center of the Acadia’s speedometer. The feature will use the same sensor system that alerts the driver that one of the doors is open while the car is in drive. If those sensors detect a back door being opened and closed before the driver gets in and starts the car (or any time while the engine is running) then the back seat warning is triggered. According to Tricia Morrow, GM’s Global Safety Strategy Engineer, the feature is not optional and will be included in all new Acadias.
On very warm days, it doesn’t take very long for small children to be overcome by the heat inside a vehicle. According to NoHeatStroke.org, 12 children have already died from heatstroke while sitting in a car this year. In 2015, 24 children died due to being left in the car too long. Since 1998, an average of 37 children died every year while trapped inside the vehicle.
More than half of these cases are due to parents forgetting their child was even in the car in the first place. This is even more likely to happen when the driver has a change in their everyday routine and is not used to having a child in the car with them. Oftentimes, when children are left forgotten in parked cars, there is also a risk of the child getting hurt by way of parked car accidents. Even cars in a parking lot can be hit by passing by vehicles. And in the event that there is a child in the back seat, this could lead to severe injury or even death.
GM is planning on introducing this back seat warning feature for other four-door GM models in the future, Morrow stated. Morrow suggests that parents who are carrying small children in the back seat can put a laptop, cell phone or other item they ordinarily need back there as well, so that when it’s time to get out of the car at their destination, they will look to the back seat and see their child.
Parents should never leave their child unattended in the car, but it is specially dangerous during the summer time when temperatures within the car can reach anywhere from 100 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 10 minutes. If you or somebody you know has been involved in a car accident in which a child was left in a vehicle, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.