Car seat technology targets hot car tragedies

Evenflo seat with sensors alerts driver

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Parents and caregivers can’t imagine they could accidentally forget a child in their car, yet almost 40 children die of heatstroke inside vehicles each year. Since 2010, over 220 children have died of heatstroke after being trapped inside vehicles, according to KidsandCars.org.

Consumer Reports evaluated new technology built into an Evenflo infant seat that may help. It’s called SensorSafe and is designed to chime as soon as the car is turned off if a child is still buckled in the seat. Here’s how it works: The chest clip is activated when it’s buckled and the car is in motion. It communicates with a wireless receiver the driver plugs directly into the onboard diagnostic port.

If the car is model year 2008 or newer, a standard receiver will work. But if you have a hybrid vehicle or your car stops and starts when idling, then you need to get an alternate receiver. Consumer Reports tested SensorSafe in 25 different cars. It worked in most vehicles but not all of them.

Consumer Reports recommends that although the SensorSafe technology isn’t perfect yet, it definitely shows promise. Consumer Reports believes that the best reminder technology is going to be one that’s integrated either into your vehicle or into your child safety seat, and Evenflo has provided a solution.

Consumer Reports says to try the SensorSafe in your own car to be sure it connects. And if people are having problems installing the system, call Evenflo at 1-800-233-5921 to notify the company of the problem.

In another effort to prevent heatstroke deaths, General Motors recently unveiled a rear seat reminder feature that will debut in 2017 GMC Acadias.

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