The "forgotten –child safety device" was designed with the intent to prevent children from drying of a heat stroke in parked vehicles. The federal government is now urging parents to distrust the devices because they have been determined to be "inconsistent and unreliable."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief David Strickland, this device gives parents a sense of false of security.
With 527 children under the age of 14 dying of a heat stroke in cars since 1998, and heat strokes being the leading factor in non-crash vehicle-related incidents.
For 51 percent of the cases analyzed, a parent, legal guardian or caregiver may have absent mindedly forgotten a child in a vehicle, while 19 percent of adults who intentionally left behind the child in the vehicle, oblivious to the fact that heat can rapidly rise to fatal levels. However, in 30 percent of cases the children who were left unattended and entered an unlocked vehicle.
Such unfortunate events have inspired car manufacturers to design products that will remind parents to check their cars. Despite efforts to help reduce the number of children related heat strokes, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's safety agency study discovered an array of problems with the Suddenly Safe Pressure Pad, the ChildMinder Smart Clip System and the ChildMinder Smart Pad.
While some devices were created to offer simple reminders to check on children, the Suddenly Safe Pressure Pad, the ChildMinder Smart Clip System and the ChildMinder Smart Pad were created to sense the presence of a child in a safety seat or restraint and alert the parent, legal guardian or caregiver, before he or she moves away from the vehicle.
All three devices were evaluated by a series of battery examinations, cell phone or radio interference, activation distances and working thresholds. Researchers found that too often parents were required to adjust the position of the child within the child restraint for the device to work, they also experienced continuous synching and un-synching during use. Additionally the devices were unable to operate smoothly in the presence of liquids and other radio transmitted equipment such as cell phones.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also states that these devices are not applicable when if the child is playing and gets locked in the vehicle, which accounts for 30 percent of mortalities.
The study did not assess electronic devices that may have been released since publication, and it also did not evaluate the effectiveness of non-electronic reminders.
To obtain a copy of the report visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.