Necessity is truly the mother of invention, especially when one considers the tragic consequences from a growing problem.
Fortunately, this problem---hot-car deaths among children and babies---has spurred the creation of a product aimed at eliminating these occurrences.
"A child can die of heat stroke on just a simple day that's 72 degrees," revealed Jim Lardear, Director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
As a comparison, Lardear continued, "on a 95 degree day, the dashboard can reach about 181 degrees. And that's the temperature that most people are cooking their poultry."
As a result of the inherent risk to vulnerable youth, and even pets, AAA has developed the acronym, A.C.T., to help drivers remember heat-related dangers in vehicles.
- Avoid heat stroke by never leaving a child alone, not even for a minute.
- Create reminders by putting something in the back seat.
- Take action by immediately calling 9-1-1 if you notice a child is left unattended.
For owners of the 2017 General Motors Corporation's (GMC) Acadia sport utility vehicle, the "C" aspect of the acronym is nearly accounted for with an industry-first feature known as Rear Seat Reminder.
The component monitors the rear doors before, and while, the vehicle is running, and then chimes the driver upon engine shut off to check the back seat as they exit.
According to a news release on the company's website, dated December 16, 2016, GMC would be expanding the availability of Rear Seat Reminder across many Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and other GMC vehicles by the 2018 model year.
Although that technology would certainly set off raising necessary awareness, problems might persist when considering the human element.
"This, unfortunately, can happen to any parent," acknowledged Michael Braunold, Chief Executive Officer of Elepho, which has introduced a host of portable wellness devices for the entire family that incorporate breakthrough technology. "Statistics show that really parents, who you would consider loving and caring, for various reasons, they forget. We live very, very busy lives. And sometimes our routines are so frequent, and any change to that routine can affect [our] memory. And in that respect, in tragic cases, can result in forgetting [our] child in the back of [our] car."
Enter the eClip. Described as a small device that sits in the back of the car, perhaps on the car seat or seat belt, it sends a continuous signal to a smartphone-based app, using low-energy Bluetooth protocol, which monitors the temperature of the vehicle where the child(ren) are seated.
"In reality, the back of the car is usually much warmer," Braunold reminded. "This will give you information, in real-time, regarding the temperature which, most importantly, tells you the comfort level of the baby once they're in the car."
In parallel, the smartphone app signals the driver, or caregiver, that they may have left a child unattended.
"It might sound unbelievable, but people tend to take their smartphones and keys before they take their babies sometimes," Braunold explained. "But when they leave the car, and they have the smartphone with them, an alarm will alert on the smartphone to inform them that they [may] have forgotten the baby."
Braunold revealed that the United States has kept copious statistics regarding heat-related vehicle deaths among children, recording them since the late 1990s. In that time, more than 725 youth have died in these types of incidences. What's more alarming, to Braunold, was that the trend seems to have grown worse.
"The statistics, for 2017, are not very promising. Last year [in 2016], 37 children died in [unattended hot] cars. At the moment, we're at the beginning of September, it's still hot, and we're already up to 35 [deaths]. Unfortunately, statistically, this year is going to be worse than previous years."
The patent-pending eClip and its companion product---an eFob, for consumers who don't own a smartphone, or prefer not use the app for purposes of monitoring---completed a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2017, and is poised for broad market share beginning in 2018.
You can pre-order your device, or learn more about the product, here.