New car technology aim to prevent hot car deaths - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

New car technology aim to prevent hot car deaths

51% of children left in hot cars were forgotten by a caregiver, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. 51% of children left in hot cars were forgotten by a caregiver, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
GM plans to equipped 2017 Acadia SUV with 'rear-seat reminder' feature. GM plans to equipped 2017 Acadia SUV with 'rear-seat reminder' feature.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -  According to Safe Kids Worldwide,  51 % of children that have died in a hot car were forgotten by a caregiver.
However, one automaker recently announced its plans to equip select SUV's with new technology that could help prevent child deaths, but some first responders don't want parents and caregivers to rely solely on technology. 

Kathy Nieuwenhuis, Public Education Officer for Horry County Fire Rescue says,  "Children left in a vehicle their body temperature increases three to five times faster than an adult." 

She adds when their temperature becomes 104 degrees organs can possibly begin to shut down. At the Carolina Forest fire station, Nieuwenhuis put a thermometer on a booster seat in the back of a SUV, and left it there for 10 minutes. 

According to the website Safe Kids Worldwide, in just 10 minutes a car can heat up 19 degrees.  Nieuwenhuis went back to the SUV to check the thermometer. "It started at 85 degrees and it is 110 degrees," she said. 

 Nieuwenhuis said the temperature actually rose 25 degrees instead of the average 19.  "So this child sitting in this booster seat could be in some severe stress,"  Nieuwenhuis said. 

General Motors announced earlier this month their plans to launch a new 'Rear-Seat Reminder' feature in select SUV's. If you open your rear door when you get in, the reminder goes off when you get out. 

GM says the system will first debut as a standard feature on the 2017 GMC Acadia SUV. Nieuwehuis says the technology created to help prevent child deaths is a good thing, but she is not totally convinced it will be the the answer to the problem.

"How often do we ignore the sound that we don't have our seat belt on? I just wonder how soon will it be before we become immune to that sound and we are not going to think about that sound any more," said Nieuwehuis. 

The education officer says parents and caregivers should always look before locking their doors, and if necessary create a reminder, for yourself to check the backseat, especially if you are off your normal routine. 

Make yourself a note or do something to remind yourself to check that back seat. 

February 2016, Governor Nikki Haley signed a new law that allows a good Samaritan to break a window to rescue a child or a vulnerable adult if he or she believes the person will suffer from immediate harm. This protects the Samaritan from having a lawsuit filed against them. 

The law does require the person must first call 911 before they attempt to break the window. The law does not apply to pets left inside a hot vehicle.

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