Briefcase, Purse, Cellphone. . .Child
Every year, an average 37 kids die after having been left in hot cars. That, according to research by Jan Null, a Certified Consulting Meteorologist. And although the summer of 2010 is really just a few days old, there have been fatalities already.
General Motors, which is working with Safe Kids USA, has been looking at the ways and means to keep this from happening. “We have looked at a range of technologies to provide a warning to drivers that a sleeping infant or young child might be in the back seat, but we are convinced more than ever that this issue is best addressed by education and awareness,” said Jeff Boyer, GM executive director of Safety.
Education and awareness. Don’t think that there is going to be some sort of clever technology that will address a problem that is better solved by simply paying attention. (Yes, there are various sensors and suchlike that can be used to determine whether there is someone in a car, but c’mon: Pay attention.)
According to GM, the windows of a car are relatively transparent to the sun’s shortwave radiation, which can heat up such things as the dashboard and car seat to more than 200 degrees F. These objects, in turn, heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection, as well as by long-wave radiation, which then heats the air in the interior. Temps can rise 19 degrees in just 10 minutes, so if it is hot already. . . .
Heat stroke can occur when the body temperature is 104 degrees F, and if the core body temp hits 107 degrees, it can be lethal.
So the recommendation to leave a briefcase, purse, cellphone, or something you don’t want to forget back there with a child—who you really don’t want to forget—may sound simplistic. But simple is good when it saves lives. And it is so simple, there is no reason why anyone can’t do it.