On July 23, Walmart unveiled a new car seat that may save young children from hot car deaths and injuries. Manufactured by Evenflo and sold exclusively at Walmart, the car seat has an alert system that reminds drivers when a child is still buckled in after the ignition is shut off.
"The Evenflo Advanced SensorSafe™ Embrace Infant Car Seat car seat uses a wireless receiver that plugs into a car’s On Board Diagnostic (OBD) port and syncs with the chest clip that goes around the baby," a representative for the retailer told The Huffington Post in an email. If the car is shut off while the harness chest clip is buckled, a series of tones will ring out to alert the driver, he added. The alarm still sounds if the chest clip was unbuckled during the ride as well.
The car seat, which will retail for $149.88, does not require a cell phone nor Bluetooth technology, but it will generally only work for cars manufactured after 2008, when certain OBD system requirements were federally mandated.
These types of car seat alert systems may become the norm in the future, as other companies and individuals develop their own versions. A group of Rice University engineering students spent the past year working on Infant SOS, a car seat accessory that can sense if its infant passenger is in danger and send mobile phone alerts to pre-programmed contacts.
Appearing on NBC's "Today," Wired editor Jason Tanz demonstrated Evenflo's new car seat and explained why he thinks this technology is important. "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 a sensor to keep your baby safe."
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