General Motors will introduce an “industry-first” rear seat reminder to its cars in a bid to stop forgetful drivers leaving children behind.
The feature, which will be introduced to the US via the GMC Acadia mid-size SUV, reminds drivers to check the rear seat at the end of a journey by chiming five times and displaying a “look in the rear seat” message, but only if the rear doors were opened 10 minutes before the car starts driving.
GM global safety strategy engineer Tricia Morrow said the technology aimed to help protect the things “we care about most”.
“Whether it’s your lunch, laptop, pet or most importantly, your child, it’s easier than it seems to forget what’s in the back seat when moving between life’s events,” said Morrow.
“With this new feature, we are leading the charge to address this ongoing problem.”
Children left in cars is a significant problem in the US. So far this year it has resulted in 27 deaths, and more than 380 have died in the last decade.
Closer to home, Ambulance Victoria says 1433 emergency calls were made between September and August 2014 to assist children left in cars, with an average of five calls a day during the hottest months of the year – November to March. Of those, 23 per cent involved children younger than 13.
The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly within the first five minutes of locking up. In contrast to adults, a child’s temperature raises three to five times faster.
GM sells its cars in Australia under the Holden badge. There’s no word yet when, or if, this technology will make its way here, though.
Now read about Volvo's child safety.