Design Challenge - No more kids accidentally left in cars

I think a timely design challenge would be some type of alarm to prevent drivers from inadvertently leaving young children in the car.

I think designers can put their heads together to work on this issue.

What would it take to send this design challenge out?

Sample Considerations:
• Keyfob alarm/indication/tactile reminder?
• Child seat sensor/alarm?
• Integration with Auto manufacturers, OnStar?
• Multiple sounding door chimes?
• Sensors (temperature, ignition, child presence)?
• Cell phone (timers, auto dialing, etc.)?
• Low cost, simple?

Perhaps something that shocks the parents either in the groin or the nipples. Then one of the boxing gloves on a scissor link that punches them in the back to notify them that they are bad and irresponsible parents.

Seriously though, I think the ,Integration with Auto manufacturers, OnStar?, option would be the best approach.

Although humorous, I have to wonder if you have kids. Not being snarky, but you simply can’t understand the exhaustion that one has during the first 6 months of being a parent. Especially the first time.

I dropped my daughter off at daycare almost every day. I would drop her off and then continue on to work. Almost every day, I would get 5 minutes from work and have a panic attack. One day I would look in the rearview and wonder where she was. Another day I would panic trying to remember if I even dropped her off.

All that said, I am not sure I buy into the idea that technology is going to “fix” this problem. I was reminded of this fact just this morning. My wife bought one of those baby monitors that monitors breathing…well intentioned to help prevent SIDS. But that f**king thing has gone off falsely more times than I can remember.

I tend to feel that products like this cause and feed anxiety rather than prevent horrible things from happening. To some degree, I find these products, albeit well intentioned, are opportunistic.

Its a good question though. But to me the first debate is more whether it is truly needed.

Its a oft heard lament, so often it falls on def ears. So may i point out DUDE YOU NEW ABOUT THIS GOING IN you and your lady fair…so NO GRIPING :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: . Ok enough of that but realy so many of us out here that dont have or have gone thourgh it years ago are kinda bored with the arc of the child. The solution to the problem is simple and was used for years untill some folks got all “right minded” about this. The child wears a harness the parent or gardian wears a wrist strap, connecting the two is a magic high tensile streath piece of material, generaly monofilimnet, leather, or coated steel but could also be spectra or kevlar…the magic thing is a leash of course…

not talking about this problem necessarily but…
it’s kindof sad how much waste there is on products that will sell purely based on some fear or anxiety. not much real value in them at all, just an empty promise to keep the boogy man away…

No I don’t have children and can partially relate (have watched my niece a time or two) to what an exhausted parent goes through. I guess I view that action as very irresponsible. Imagining the stress a parent goes through adding the lack of sleep and a full work week, I can begin to understand the human error in this event. But that said, I think if we take a more macro view at this issue, the problem could be reduced or eliminated. How can the parent be less stressed in raising and caring for a child? How can sleep/rest be increased?

I guess I’m thinking more about the problem and how it relates to the whole process of caring for an infant/child rather than a sensor in a vehicle or nipple shockers.

That’s a tough problem. Could be more of a societal/systems issue than a product solution. Whenever you hear about that happening in the parking lot of the mall or wherever, you can’t help but feel bad for the parent and wonder how can it have been prevented.

Easy to say bad parent when your not hauling your kid around and doing 10 things at once.

I like the leash idea but when you forget to wear it once and your child is in the car it still is an issue of why you cannot remember you have your child with you.

Could be a driving safety issue if it was on your wrist. Perhaps the leash should be attached to the parents waist or nipples or something.

Kid Car Leash.


Wal-mart, Target and other fine big box retailers.

OK enough of the nipple jokes.

Oh come now, project yourself back to the 19th century where the mother was cooking, canning, gardening, and a whole host of other highly time and attention intense projects around the house while attending to 1,2,3 or more children of many age groups.

Easy to say bad parent when your not hauling your kid around and doing 10 things at once.

That pretty much sums up my thoughts.

At risk of sounding cold. Is this a “problem”? How often does a kid left in a car to die happen? I can think of 2 or three cases of it that have made it into mainstream media.

Creating a product based soley on qwelling one’s anxiety…not sure I buy it.

Zippy…no bitching here…ok…maybe a little :wink:

Not so fast, that product can get you jail time and losing your kid in some states…CPS deemed then having a “negtive impact on a childs self image”…

More than a little less than a lot…do me a favor when you and your lady do finaly emerge back to normal reality try to understand that for most of us males…we really dont care to know much more about your kids than “hey the baby ok?, how about them _______ instert sports, political or other refrence” The ladies will go of course on and and on and on, but most of us have developed a good useable system of “situational selective hearing loss” and can tune most of it out.

I don’t buy a product solution for this issue either. Be more responsible.

We could sell responsibility in a tube.

Buy 2 get the third free and a trial size of Nurturing.

Parenting Attributes TM

Gotta chime in:

as the oldest of 5 boys, and a parent of an 8 month old, I think the problem is in the problem statement.

As a kid, my Mom would occasionally leave us in the car while she ran into the grocery or whatnot. Let me assure you, there was nothing inadvertant about it. And, in retrospect, considering simpler times and a small farm town, no negative percussions on us kids. We got to listen to the radio at full blast, read, poke each other with sticks, climb over the seats and all kinds of fun stuff. ANd all that in about 15 minutes.

Now, I occasionally see things on the news about parents whose kids die in the car b/c they leave them while they spend 6 hours at the bar, or 8 hours at work, or 6-8 hours working at the bar…again, I’m pretty sure there is nothing inadvertant about the child being left in the car.

I, for one, know that while I’m tempted to leave the kid in the car as i run into the store, I realize there is a big diff between an 8month old, and an 8 year old…but I’m also pretty sure the wife won’t stand for leaving him in the car no matter how old he is…

Basically, the occasions of forgetting a child in the car are probably few and far between, while the concious choice to leave the kid in the car are much more common…and I’m not sure, in this case, if you can design a product to make up for poor decision making…except maybe the nipple shocker…

I think a ‘passive’ solution is best. Don’t ask the parent to do anything special (like connect a leash.) Try and do it automatically.

If the car or car-seat was aware of the baby’s presence (ie. it senses a rear-door opening, or weight in the seat) there are a lot of options. It could play a special chime when the drivers door is opened, reminding them of their cargo. Or alert the parent after a default time period has elapsed if they exit the car, and the car/seat still detects the child’s presence.

I’m with dobie on this one. I don’t think it’s that the parent mistakenly “forgets” the child. it’s that the parent consciously leaves the child for what’s supposed to be a short time, but then while gone loses track of time.

-You could try to create a product that annoys a forgetful/neglectful parent into more responsibility but would they even buy that for themselves?
-You could mandate camera/audio systems in cars so that the parent is afraid of big brother finding out what they’re doing but is that giving up too much control?
-If the parent is truly forgetful and wants to remedy the real mistake of forgetting the child, a proximity sensor could do the trick (again with the proximity sensor). A matching pair of bracelets that beep if they’re too far apart. Much more friendly than the dog leash which people don’t like just for the connotations it brings (but which would be good for older bad kids that get into things in stores, etc).

But it is hard to try to design products to make up for bad behavior in people because the first step would be for that neglectful person to realize they have a problem and then be willing to buy a product that reminds them of that and “nags” them into improvement. Something like that would almost have to be law for the people that truly don’t care, like the unlocked seatbelt annoying beep.

So I guess it’s a matter of would it actually be marketable or would it be a mandate type of thing?

so much thought over a darwin event… How do you “prevent” some screwed up parents from forgetting their kids in a car…you CANT…they are screwed up and if there was a pre test for having kids they would have failed.

Is the root cause that it’s too difficult to get the kid in/out of a child seat?