Back Seat Alerts Remind You to Keep Your Children and Pets Cool

The alerts may seem unnecessary, but 35 to 40 children left in hot cars die from heat stroke each summer.

LaHood And Sebelius Unveil New Campaign To Prevent Child Heatstroke In Cars
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Leaving your pets or kids in a hot car is a bad idea, yet it still happens. That's why auto manufacturers are now starting to install sensors to detect back seat passengers and remind drivers that they're there, reports CBS Moneywatch. Experts say we should expect this technology to become more and more common, perhaps even mandatory.

It's a situation that nearly everyone thinks won't happen to them. Yet more than 800 children, not to mention countless pets, have died since 1990 as a result of being locked inside a hot car, with 35 to 40 more added each summer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, heat stroke is one of the leading non-accident causes of death among children.

Part of the reason why this happens is that it can get deceptively hot inside a closed vehicle even at comfortable outside temperatures. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, even a beautiful 70-degree day will heat a car up to a dangerous 104 in just half an hour. Temperatures only go up from there, the longer the car sits or the hotter the outside temperature is.

As a result, some manufacturers have already started reminding drivers to check their back seats when they park. GMC already offers a rear seat reminder as standard equipment on its Terrain, Acadia, and Yukon, SUVs, as well as the Canyon and Sierra pickup trucks. Nissan also offers a rear door alert system on the Pathfinder, and intends to add it to more models in the future.

Aftermarket systems are also available to stop drivers from wandering off without their kids or pets. But the problem with these is that most people don't believe they'll ever need them, and therefore don't buy them. This is why some experts want rear seat alarms made mandatory in all cars, the same way rear cameras just became mandatory in May.