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Tech companies racing to prevent young children being left in hot vehicles

38 Comments
By Ryuma Kawamura

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38 Comments
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Try educating the "Adults"!

33 ( +38 / -5 )

So parents and childcare workers are so stupid they need an alert on their phone? To remind them of their responsibility, it’s one thing to kill in a game another to kill in reality? So the solution is an alert on their mobile to let them know, bet they block it.

13 ( +22 / -9 )

My car has a thermometer, do kindergarten buses? Teachers should learn to count kids. I don’t have kids, I have a dog, but when it’s hot, I put silver foil over the windscreen, open all the windows and have a big bowl of water. But if it’s kids, I would just leave the aircon on.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Or.

They could just start giving harsher penalties for ignorant adults who do this and give them 15-20 years mandatory plus a heavy fine.

Also if a by standard breaks open the window to help the child or animal trapped inside, let them go without repercussions.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Or bulldoze pachinkos, seems to be a common denominator

Castration for the stupid may help

Try educating the "Adults"!

4 ( +12 / -8 )

How about properly educating people?

Wht are schools for?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

In any situation, I cannot imagine ever leaving my children in the car in any weather alone for hours. My mother never left me in the car. My father never left me in the car. My uncle never left me in the car. My aunt never left me in the car. So, what is really going on here in Japan? What is the real reason this is happening year after year? Me thinks you need to create a commission and have meetings to discus this issue for years.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

 a recent spate of summertime incidents involving children being left behind in dangerously hot vehicles

Theres nothing ‘recent’ about it. It’s been going on for decades. Tech companies shouldn’t have to carry the ball for this. There should be a publicity campaign and severe penalties put in place to stop these irresponsible twits leaving their kids in cars.

I remember one case from over ten years ago where a young couple left their baby under the seat of their scooter in the middle of summer while they played pachinko. Of course the baby died.

it is way too common for Japanese parents to leave kids in cars while they go about their business. It must be stopped and tech is not going to do it. Penalties, awareness campaigns and hefty fines are the only things that will work against these idiots.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

There is NOTHING Tech. can do to make a careless human safe or smart.

If a person is incapable to see or comprehend danger then they should not for one have kids, or even be able to obtain a Driving Lic.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I see many trucks and commercial vehicles with several cameras to monitor the traffic outside and the driver too, so, to monitor children in the rear seat is just a question of adding one more camera, and heat sensor, the technology exists. Insurance companies could offer the installation, this equipment could be sold or rented. If there is a child or a pet inside a stopped vehicle heat sensors could also be programmed to automatically open the windows, trigger an alarm, lights, switch on the air conditioning, send SMS, etc. Technology exists in abundance here in Japan, no excuses to not implement ASAP (As Soon As Possible)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Come on Mark, it isn't newsworthy unless they can include AI, which if I remember from my youth was commonly known as software... then apps.... now?

MarkToday  08:47 am JST

There is NOTHING Tech. can do to make a careless human safe or smart.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Install a brain-function booster chip into those adults.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

As with child car seats, it's sad that technology and/or laws are needed to counter adult stupidity.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Tech companies?

Why not start with the parents first?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Guys n gals this story is not about cars or how idiotic people can be.

This tech is for companies which take on the responsibility to protect children, many small kindergarten/nursery schools have a mini bus or large van that goes around to pick up the kids.

It won't be mandatory nor will it be installed in cars.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

If you need tech to remind you your child is in the car you shouldn't have children. Yes I have a child and could not and would not be able to forgets she's in the car under any circumstances. We really are circling the bowl.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

There were a spate of these incidents 4-5 years ago, leading to some US and Korean car makers installing seat pressure monitors and warning devices to drivers, as well as education programmes.

Why were they not adopted more widely?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is definitely a problem with adults today. They don't live in the moment. Too often they are preoccupied with other things, their smartphone being the main culprit. It takes their mind off what matters, i.e. their child roasting in the rear seat of their car.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The hoikuen bus was a special case in that it was a dedicated child transporter but did not have failsafe mechanism to ensure all the kids were off the bus. A checklist with "park bus - sweep bus" on it is all that was needed. I would vastly prefer this to relying on any tech.

As for parents and cars, nearly all the deaths involve extreme levels of neglect, typically pachinko or intoxicated parents, and hot and/or sunny weather. The vast majority of incidences where a child is left in a car do not involve anything like this level of danger, and should be viewed accordingly. On a 15C cloudy day, more children will die from being run over in supermarket carparks than from being left inside a not-hot car. More children die from falling out of buildings, but I would not incriminate parents or grandparents for living somewhere with a balcony or potentially reachable window. A child can fall off a building in seconds. Is that the level of nonstop supervision we must demand?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you need tech to remind you your child is in the car you should have children. Yes I have a child and could not and would not be able to forgets she's in the car under any circumstances. We really are circling the bowl.

Install a brain-function booster chip into those adults.

As with child car seats, it's sad that technology and/or laws are needed to counter adult stupidity.

The arrogance...

Hot car deaths: The children left behind - BBC News

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hot car deaths: The children left behind - BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28214266

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I thought bus drivers walk down the aisle and check the seats after each time he or she ends a ride to make sure nothing, or no one, is left behind. How tf are they missing kids?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tesla has pet mode. At what age is it okay to leave kids in the car for a short time unsupervised? My kids hid on me once when I left them in the car. They crawled all the way back under the hatchback where they were not easily visible. They thought that was funny!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This feels like one of those things that will produce so many false alarms that workers will just start ignoring them anyway, kind of like with car alarms. This is a problem that can clearly be solved with simple human processes, like having the driver physically check the bus to ensure nobody is left inside, rather than some new and expensive technology that probably won’t work anyway.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Agreed. While it is the responsibility of the parents to protect their children, there's nothing wrong with looking into tech solutions to help avoid this terrible tragedy of losing a child.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No. You should never leave children in a car in any circumstances, not even for a minute. 

in Japan nobody steals small children, so long as there is aircon on and not more than a few minutes, and nothing to chock on, a couple of minutes is probably OK to grab an ice cream, discard the rubbish or get the clothes out of the laundromat. It’s the supermarket and pachinko parents that are the problem.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They could just start giving harsher penalties for ignorant adults who do this and give them 15-20 years mandatory plus a heavy fine.

Punishment may satisfy a lust for vengeance, but it won't save any lives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I thought bus drivers walk down the aisle and check the seats after each time he or she ends a ride to make sure nothing, or no one, is left behind. How tf are they missing kids?

That's probably the normal situation. But unusual events happen from time to time. For example, a kid falls while getting off the bus and gets injured. The driver helps that kid, and neglects some regular tasks. We can all forget to do things in unusual circumstances.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The best prevention is common sense.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, no end of 'perfect' Humans here. But most hot car deaths do, in fact, seem to happen in cars. A simple device consisting of a gel pad that goes on the seat of the infant carrier or car seat containing a weight sensor integrated with a clip-on temp/motion sensor and wifi. Car stops for five minutes or heat above a certain threshold, and weight detected, and an alert is sent to one, two, several devices. It would be portable, cheap, easy to use and, if a flashing red light that sticks to a window and an audible 'low battery' tone were included, reliable. Again, all Humans have some distance between themselves and perfection as we saw recently with the man who committed suicide after forgetting his infant son. And, such a system could be built at home by the average person without too much difficulty using an Arduino programmable chip...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Thinking it cannot or will not happen to you is sheer arrogance, which a lot of commentators here seem to have in abundance.

Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime? - The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/fatal-distraction-forgetting-a-child-in-thebackseat-of-a-car-is-a-horrifying-mistake-is-it-a-crime/2014/06/16/8ae0fe3a-f580-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When the tech fails… who are they going to blame? No tech is 100% reliable.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I personally would never leave my kids alone in the car even for a minute; for example going to the convenience store. Unbuckle them and escort them into the store each and every time. My Japanese wife would do it all the time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"No tech is 100% reliable."

But, maybe, more reliable than a distracted Human attention span and ANY 'backup', regardless of 'reliability, adds some measure of safety. And given the level of computer competence built into vehicles today, a 'child option' with a packet of sensors that plugs into a jack in the car and activates some suite of alerts when certain conditions arise (e.g. weight on seat, motionless vehicle) could easily be written into the car's software albeit Corporate would resist such a safety protocol citing 'liability' as they, long ago, resisted seatbelts and headrests. Nadrew mentions Tesla's pet mode. Whatever one's view of children, giving our children as much priority as our dogs seems reasonable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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