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New safety device to prevent child hot car deaths

January 27, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Intel Smart Clip will send alert to your smartphone if you’ve left a child in the car – before it becomes a tragedy in the heat

It may be freezing now in Michigan, where I practice law, but I just read an interesting story in the Detroit Free Press  on a new safety device aimed at preventing child heat stroke in the car.

Intel has developed a new device called the “Smart Clip” to send an alert to your smartphone to warn you if you’ve left a child in your car. The Smart Clip attaches to the child’s car seat harness and can warn you when conditions in the car are potentially dangerous and the harness is fastened.

The clip is swapped with the one already on your child’s car seat. It communicates with an app on your smartphone, displaying a green check mark when your child is out of the seat or a red “X” when the child is still buckled in. And if you leave the car while the red “X” is displayed, the app will sound off an alarm.

When people hear about these tragedies every summer of children dying in cars because of the extreme heat, we all naturally think the simple answer is to tell parents to never leave young children in cars. But it still happens.

And the number of people, including many well-educated and well-intentioned people who think it’s okay to leave a child in a car “for a couple of minutes” is shocking. Plus, as every parent knows, sometimes when we are sleep deprived or absent-minded, things happen and mistakes are made that we would never think possible. As as a result, every single summer, children die from heat stroke (hyperthermia) because they were left in hot cars.

According to the nonprofit safety group Kidsandcars.org, an average of 38 children die in hot cars from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside each year.

Children overheat up to five times faster than adults, according to safercar.gov:

  • In 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees.
  • Even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, your car’s inside temperature can reach 110 degrees.
  • A child dies when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

Over stressed parents distracted by technology may be one of the reasons kids get left in hot cars. While nothing can replace the responsibility of the parent, this Intel technology could help prevent child heat stroke and hot car deaths due to forgetful parents and caregivers.

The Intel Smart Clip doesn’t yet have a price tag, but Intel representatives state in published reports that they’d like to keep it under $100.

Related information:

13 safety tips to prevent child heat stroke

Can you be arrested for leaving your kids in the car?

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