A new gadget goes on the market this spring to help prevent parents or caregivers from inadvertently leaving a child in a car seat.
The idea of forgetting a child may sound unthinkable, but Kids and Cars, which maintains a national database tracking deaths and injuries related to children left unatttended in cars, reports at least 213 such fatalities in 2005 alone. That's up from 66 such deaths tracked in 1999.
With that in mind, the Baby Alert's Child Minder--one of many child-reminder technologies for cars--works by installing the "active buckle" to existing car seat straps and placing the receiver on a key ring. Should you leave the vehicle with the child still in the car seat and walk 20 feet or more away, the receiver alerts you by playing nursery rhymes, according to the product site. The buckle is deactivated when it is unfastened.
You can also order the Child Minder with an optional car door receiver, which sends an alert after closing the driver's door if the buckle hasn't been deactivated.
It makes you wonder if such a technology would even be necessary if it weren't for the ever-quickening pace of life exacerbated by technology like cell phones and PDAs.