While it’s probably true that we’re all a little more distracted than we’ve been before, there’s no excuse for forgetting that you have a child in a car seat.
But, as we know, people can be idiots. On average, 38 children under the age of 14 pass each year because of heatstroke caused by a simmering automobile. And, as we also know, companies like to prey on the morbid little fears of parents. As a result of this continued parental negligence, a miniature industry has popped up to help parents remember that their child is in the car. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia began a study in 2011 looking at the effectiveness of these products, and found 11 on the market.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (who commissioned the study) discovered that these devices were unreliable in preventing heatstroke on their own.
The Suddenly Safe Pressure Pad, the ChildMinder Smart Pad and the ChildMinder Smart Clip System were not completely reliable and consistent in their function and ability to detect children. Even a smidge of unreliability and inconsistency for a product like this should prevent you from buying one.
(In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need a reminder that your completely dependent flesh and blood is innocently sitting in his or her car seat, and that, yeah, they’re more important than whatever you’re buying at Kohls.)
David L. Strickland, administrator of NHTSA advised parents (if they still want to purchase these devices) to only use them as part of their routine, which he recommended include placing a cellphone, purse or briefcase in the backseat as a reminder that a kid is back there.
Sometimes, it’s all so incredibly strange.