Cooley On Cars
Road to the Future: Baby car seats get smarterBrian Cooley looks at Evenflo's new baby car seat with SensorSafe technology. The new car seat provides an electronic warning when a child is left in the car using the car's OBD-II port connected under the car dashboard.
It's sort of odd when you think about it. Your car alerts you when your headlights are left on. But not when your kids are left in. A trickier problem to solve for of course, but also vastly more important. [NOISE] [CRYING] Do you know where the parent is? No, she's not here. Oh my God. The Feds track the problem of child fatalities in locked hot cars. But many people actually follow the work of meteorologist Jan Null of San Jose State University in Silicon Valley. He collates media reports and estimates that between 1998 and 2009. 494 children, about 37 each year die locked in hot cars in the U.S. More than half the kids who die of hypothermia in cars are two years old or younger. About half of them were left in the car by accident by a forgetful parent. 911... Where is your emergency? We just parked next to a car at Walmart. Cadillac Escalade. There's a baby infant in the carrier, screaming. And no one around. A modern car is unfortunately a very efficient calorimeter of sorts. It's seals and insulation are deadly good as trapping solar energy. The majority of heating happens in the first 20 minutes or so. [MUSIC] Cracking the windows has almost no effect. [MUSIC] Evenflo has a new set of their babyseats out with a technology called SensorSafe. It's an electronic sensing technology to warn you you've got a child Buckled in the seat in the back, especially a rear-facing one, which is another hazard in and of itself. Out of sight, out of mind. Now, an electronic sensing baby seat is actually not anything new. The National Highway Safety Administration looked at nearly two dozen of these These things back in 2012 and decreed most of them junk. Lets see how Evenflo seeks to break the mold. [SOUND] Now up here in the front of the car, you do a one time install of this Dongle that comes with the sensor safe seat. As you can tell by that end, this is an OBD-II port dongle. This goes up underneath your dash. Now once that's installed, that stays there. You're not having to take that in and out all the time It works on any car with an OBD-II port made since 2008, not since 1996 when OBD-II first arrived. So you gotta have a later car because that's when they implemented what's called the CAN protocol, an electronic language that that dongle relies Okay here in the back of the care you install the seat and of course latch it in safely. That's a whole different topic. Get your child in here, and then this is the key. This is the little sensor-safe clip, this green thing. Once you clip this across their chest under armpits and around their legs. That locks in. Now you close the loop. As soon as you drive above 5 miles a hour for more than a few seconds, this thing starts transmitting. To the receiver we just installed, that there's a child in here. Then the next time you stop and turn off the engine, you get a chime instantly, reminding you this is buckled around your child in the back. Don't forget them. A lot of experts like this approach better than some of the previous technologies which were proximity-based, where once you got far enough away from the car, or the seat You then got a warning. A lot of folks say no, warn parents immediately so there's no chance of them getting far away and forgetting. [MUSIC] Now, a few notes about this apparatus. If you're concerned about EMF or radiation coming off this transmitter, Evenflo says it's about the same power as a car remote key fob. It's pretty low power and that it barely uses any time transmitting about one second. In two hours of driving. If you want to use this as a hand me now which of course you do. This battery here is not replaceable. But you can get or buy another one from Evenflo. You just replace the whole clip. You'll buy it if it's after the first year or so of the seat. You get a new one for free if it's before then. If you have more than one kid, you're gonna have more than one seat. Well you can have multiples of these that report in to one receiver under the dash, it's not just a one to one relationship. And if you have a hybrid, or a car with automatic start stop technology that would stop and perhaps throw this thing off, you need to get a separate, special receiver up there under the dash which even Flo will send you. This green instead of the one we have, which is black. So electronic sensing that warns you immediately when you come to a stop. Some interesting modern technology innovations for today's cars that are hybrid and have auto start stop. And it's from a major maker at a major retailer. Walmart's got the exclusive on this for one year, until summer of 2016. Goes for about 150 bucks. Now, without the sensor safe tech, you can get almost the exact same seat for 90 dollars. So, you are definitely paying a premium here but it seems to be going down the right path. [MUSIC]