PIQUA — We see it in the news each summer: the tragic death of a child forgotten in a hot vehicle by a distracted parent. So far this year, nearly a dozen children have died of heatstroke from being left in sweltering cars.
Each time this happens, ideas are bandied about as to how to prevent these catastrophes.
“Leave one of your shoes in the back seat,” some suggest on the premise that exiting your car with one bare foot will remind you to take a second look inside.
“Put your cell phone in the baby’s car seat,” others propose; after all, most people are tethered to their cells and unlikely to forget them.
Even more people say, “Someone should invent a car seat with an alarm.”
Evenflo has done just that.
The Miamisburg-based company, which has a manufacturing facility in Piqua, has created the Advanced SensorSafe Embrace DLX infant car seat, which sounds an alarm when the vehicle stops to prevent people from leaving a child inside.
“It’s very simple. There’s a receiver plug and a chest clip transmitter on the car seat,” explained Jon Conaway, Evenflo’s director of product management for car seats. “Say you decide to go to the grocery store. You tighten the harness properly and close the chest clip as you would on an other car seat, with the plug already plugged in. As soon as you drive at 5 miles per hour for 30 seconds, it arms the system.”
“Once you reach your destination and turn the car off, you will hear a melodic tone to remind you that you have precious cargo in your back seat. A few seconds later, you’ll hear a second tone.”
The alarm also will inform the driver if the chest clip has been unbuckled while the vehicle is in motion, Conaway noted.
The Embrace DLX is designed for children weighing four to 35 pounds or up to 30 inches tall, and is compatible with vehicles from 2008 or newer equipped with an on-board diagnostic (OBD) port.
The car seat was created in a partnership with Walmart because deaths of children left in hot vehicles “was happening too often and we needed to find a way to solve the problem,” Conaway said.
“Walmart has roughly 4,000 stores and with the amount of consumers who go there, they were concerned, so they came to Evenflo and said, ‘We’d like you to partner with us to come up with a solution.”
Currently, the seat is only available online at walmart.com for $149.88, but will be sold for that price in area Walmart stores in mid-August.
Belinda M. Paschal can be reached at (937) 451-3341.