Smart technology to remind parents a child is in the back seat

1-year-old Lincoln and his mother tested our several smart technologies to remind parents a child is in the back seat. (Photo: Kari Beal)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- You’ve seen and read the stories online, seen them on TV, and they happen all too often - a baby dies after being forgotten in a hot car.

"I think a lot of parents say, 'yeah that would never be me,' but it’s a concern," Lynchburg mother Samantha Coleman said.

More than 700 children have died from heatstroke in cars since 1998, according to No Heat Stroke, and so far this year there have been 20 infant deaths.

Samantha Coleman and her child tested out four different smart technologies that alert parents when a baby is left in the back seat.

GMC Acadia

Price: $29,000

The alert system is activated when you open and close the back door. After you arrive at your destination and turn off the car, the alarm sounds and a message appears on your dashboard.

Coleman missed the alarm the first time it sounded off.

"I didn’t notice it at first," Coleman said. "I think if you own the car, especially, you would just learn to ignore it."

Other GM models also feature this technology.

Evenflo car seat

Price: $150

A receiver plugs into the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) port in the car, which connects with the chest clip transmitter on the strap of the seat. Once the car is turned on and the driver starts moving, the sensor system is activated.

As the driver reaches his or her destination and turns the car off, the beeper goes off.

"I really like the car seat, I thought it was useful," Coleman said.

Softclip safety monitor

Price: $60

The device attaches to the car seat and a key fob goes on your key chain.

When you fasten the seatbelt, the device is activated.

If you walk away more than 15 feet without unfastening the clip on the seat, the key fob starts beeping.

"I think it’s pretty useful and it seems that anyone could use it," Coleman said.

Waze app

Price: free

Download the app and go to settings. Under general click on the Child Reminder. From here, type in your destination. Once you arrive at your destination the Child Reminder alert pops up on your screen. It worked for us, but there's a catch.

“The waze app was interesting, but only effective if you put your destination in every time,” Coleman said.

In other words, if the driver doesn't use the app, the alert won’t pop up.


We want to give you full disclosure on this story.

The GMC Acadia car seat and safety monitor were both mailed or temporarily given to us by the companies to test.

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