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CNET On Cars: Smarter driver: Is there any tech to save kids left in cars?

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CNET On Cars: Smarter driver: Is there any tech to save kids left in cars?

3:10 /

Brian Cooley discusses tips and (lack) of technologies to avoid leaving a child locked in a car.

Since 1998, 628 children have died in cars that weren't even moving, 51% inadvertently left in their car by their parents, 30% were playing in the care, became locked in and 17% were left in their car by folks who presumably were just going to be a few minutes. [MUSIC] Unclear to some parents and pet owners still is the speed at which the inside of a car heats up. Even on a mild summer day with temperatures in the low 80s, that car will get to heat stroke level in ten minutes or less. So that whole about I was just gonna pop in the store for ten minutes. Takes on a whole new gravity. [MUSIC] Looking at that new thermostat on your wall or the fitness band on your wrist, you would think there has to be some sensor based technology to prevent these tragedies, but there isn't. as recently as July 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says flat out there is no recommendable technology to prevent leaving kids in cars. Not for a lack of looking. NHTSA tested 18 prevention systems that range from pressure and weight sensors that detect the child in the back seat, to warn proximity sensors that alert you when you get too far from your child to simple reminder bracelets, that are the equivalent of tying a string around your finger. In all, NHTSA pronounced the entire category inconsistent and unreliable. Offering at best, a false sense of security. [MUSIC] Now Volvo had a concept car called the SCC that envisioned a comprehensive detector in the vehicle to figure out if there were people or animals left inside. But, it was a concept. It never came to production. They did, however, do a reduced version of that technology for a few years that was the Volvo Personal Car Communicator. It was smart key fob that tied into a heartbeat detector in the vehicle. Supposedly could tell you if the bogeyman was sitting in the back seat in a dark parking lot as you came back to your car. It didn't last on the market very long and it wasn't able to detect children anyway. Ford and Intel just unveiled a concept technology called Mobii, that places cameras all over the cars' cabin, for a variety of purposes, including customizing settings. But omitted is any specific goal of child detection. Some cars now come with a so called wide angle conversation mirror and that lets you see the entire back row better. Also consider putting your purse, laptop, or some other must take item in the back seat with your child. Now, when it comes to animals, it's not enough to just crack the window. You should know this by now. Dogs and cats don't sweat like we do. Just a little through their paws and their noses. So for them it's about having a moderated temperature and access to full fresh air, in other words, not being hemmed into a vehicle. So I'm afraid to say the best technology for dealing with this issue is no technology. It pays to double-check who's left behind in your car and for real safety, make sure the answer is nobody. [MUSIC]

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