More and more technology is being developed to improve children's road safety. Child restraint systems with the latest safety advances, applications for cell phones which help prevent children from being left alone in the vehicle and devices which warn if a child has unfastened their harness or if it is too hot inside the car. One of these devices is called SensorSafe, and it is fitted to the child car seat harness and directly connects to your cell phone.
This particular product has been developed by Cybex, a brand which is also well-known for its wide range of child restraint systems, among other products. Sensorsafe sends a text message to your mobile phone if your child has unfastened their child car seat harness. We should note that the system is useless if the child is not properly secured in the seat or if the harness is unfastened. This would be the same as traveling with no child car seat at all (here we take a look at the different ways of securing your child in the seat).
The device also warns you if the temperature in the vehicle is too high or too low. The temperature reached inside a vehicle depends on a number of factors such as heat insulation, the outside temperature, if it is parked directly in the sun and how long the car has been outside in it, etc. A pleasant climate is crucial to having a good journey and to the child's well-being. It should not be too cold or too hot.
The device can also detect if the child has been left alone in the vehicle or if they have been in their seat for too long. We should recall that for babies, for example, it is best to stop and take them out of their child seat every hour and a half. We should also emphasize how important it is to prevent them suffering from ‘heat stroke’, which usually occurs when we have mistakenly left the child alone in the vehicle, especially on very hot days. A vehicle only needs to be outside in 25 degree heat for 10 minutes for a child to suffer from heat stroke inside the car. In this article we offer advice on how to prevent heat stroke in children. In fact, this device also lets us send our location to our emergency contact numbers.
For the time being, this device is available for child car seats by manufacturers who comply with the R-129 standard. It is not an accessory and is therefore not marketed separately.
Child car seat manufacturers are increasingly focusing on developing systems which not only contribute to the child's security in the event of a crash but also to preventing other types of accidents such as leaving a child inside the vehicle. General Motors for example, has a warning device which sends a message to our dashboard with the message “Look on the rear seat” when we switch off the engine to get out of the vehicle. It is an audible and visual warning, with the message flashing on the dashboard in much the same way as when we do not fasten our seat belt.
Other devices exist on the market, such as the CarMinder, which has a Bluetooth hands-free speakerphone and a warning system which synchronizes with a smartphone. If we turn off the engine and get out of the car leaving the child behind the system will alert us if it registers any sound, such as, for example, a child's voice in the car.
There is a system called Gabriel which consists of a small mat with incorporated pressure sensors which is placed underneath the child car seat. It is connected to a device which can be put on the car keys, and when we switch off the engine and get out of the car without the child, once we have gone further than 5 meters, the mat will communicate with the device we are holding and will activate the alarm.
Lastly, there are a number of different applications available for cell phones that have been developed for this purpose and we discuss them in this article.