If you watch the news, you know that every year, an unfortunate number of children are left in the back seats of a car or SUV on hot summer days. We know this is a sensitive subject, but it’s something that needs to be addressed. Thankfully, technologies exist to remind drivers that someone may be back there, waiting to join them on their day’s adventures.
How Do Occupant Detection Systems Work?
Several automakers offer active alert systems to detect occupants in the rear seat of a vehicle, and more companies are actively adding this technology to new models. Many new cars and trucks can display a dashboard alert to remind the driver to check the back seat when exiting a vehicle.
Hyundai, Kia and Genesis are leading the way with their rear occupant alert system. This system uses dedicated ultrasonic sensors integrated into many of their new SUVs to detect motion in the rear seat after the ignition is off. The occupant alert system will trigger the vehicle security system to honk the horn and flash the parking lights if someone is moving around. If you have a Bluelink telematics subscription, alerts will be pushed directly to your smartphone.
Use Technology To Protect Your Loved Ones
As of the writing of this article, the only dedicated aftermarket occupant detection systems currently available are designed for commercial applications like school buses. With that said, it’s easy for your local specialty mobile enhancement retailer to create a custom solution to give drivers those crucial reminders.
Several companies offer motion detection products. The Field Disturbance Sensor from Directed Electronics can be mounted on the ceiling of the vehicle. After the doors are closed and locked, this sensor triggers an alarm when motion is detected in the back seat. The sensor’s sensitivity is adjustable, so even slight movements could trigger a warning.
A second option is installing a security system motion/impact sensor directly on a child’s car seat. When the little one starts moving, the vehicle alarm system would be triggered to let the owner know someone is moving around in the vehicle.
Perhaps the best solution is to add a pressure-sensing pad to the child’s car seat and have it wired into an aftermarket security/remote starter system. If the doors are locked and someone is still in the back, the system would chirp a siren to inform the driver. These suggestions require movement, which might not happen if the occupant is asleep. A sensor pad solution would provide an instant warning that alerts the driver as soon as they leave the vehicle.
All these options could be integrated into a smartphone telematics system so the driver would get a smartphone alert when the alarm goes off or if someone is still in the car seat.
Protect Your Family with Occupant Alert Solutions
If you’re rushed or weary in the mornings while taking the family to school or daycare, use the Vision Zero Automotive Network’s Dealer Locator to find a shop near you that can provide a solution to help keep everyone safe.