General Motors introduces rear seat reminder

For almost 20 years, Texas has led the nation in the number of child deaths in hot cars. The folks at General Motors say the difference between life and death can be a simple reminder and they've developed the technology to do it. Consumer reporter Steve Noviello takes a look.

Leaving a baby behind in your hot car is something you can’t imagine will ever happen to you. But it does happen, often with tragic consequences.

That’s why GM’s new Rear Seat Reminder delivers an audio signal and a text display on your dashboard to remind you to check the back seat when you exit and it senses that you may have left something back there.

The technology was first developed by a female GM safety engineer. She’s also a mother who saw an opportunity to keep families safe and even save lives.

The sensor doesn’t detect children or pets but instead uses rear door usage as an indication that something may be in the rear seat. Anytime you open the rear door while the vehicle is turned on or up to 10 minutes before it is turned on, the technology is activated.

That way the reminder only sounds when there’s a chance you’ve left something in the back seat. This cuts down on the likelihood you’ll get desensitized to something you hear each time you drive.

The technology is so important it’s even being adopted by other manufacturers, which is a bit of a Catch 22. Because the elements that keep you very comfortable in the cabin, like sound dampening and climate control insulation, are the same elements that trap heat inside and create temperatures which are exponentially higher in the vehicle than they are outside.

Forget what the mercury says. The danger is there even when you think it’s not as hot today.