Every year, it is estimated that 38 children die after being left unattended in a hot car. To combat these senseless tragedies, one car seat designer is joining forces with one mega-retailer to ensure that parents have the technology they need to prevent hot car deaths. This week, Walmart and Evenflo announced a new partnership that will yield a $149 carseat (sold exclusively at Walmart) that will set off an alarm any and every time a baby is strapped in the seat while the car ignition is off. The carseat works by way of a wireless receiver found in the chest strap clip that is wirelessly connected to a receiver. The receiver in turn goes into diagnostic port that is used to monitor the car's systems.
The sensor is activated once a car is set into motion, and when it stops and is turned off, the button in the chest strap makes a noise "that is designed to sound different than any car noise or cell phone ring." That is, if your child is still strapped into his or her seat. In an appearance on the Today Show, Jason Tanz, an editor-at-large at Wired magazine, tested out the Evenflo carseat with 7-month-old Ava.
"It seems impossible that you would forget that your baby is in the car, but you're exhausted, the seat's facing the other way, you're sort of going by muscle memory, and you can forget the baby is in the car," Tanz said. "So this is a reminder using Wi-Fi, using a sensor to keep your baby safe." While this particular model is currently only available online, it is expected to make its first in-store appearance by mid-August.
Sarah McKinney, Walmart's director of corporate communications, told CNN, "It's the first and only crash-tested car seat that has this type of technology embedded. Right now (on the market) it's more attachments or accessories or mobile apps, but there's not one that's an actual car seat that has this technology." And this certainly puts it head and shoulders above other carseats, which are sold in the same price range.
And with a hot summer already upon us, the time is ripe for such a product to be filling new parents' cars.