Monday, June 20, 2011

Kids in Hot Cars, Part 2

Do tinted windows contribute to hyperthermia deaths for children left in closed vehicles?

According to David Bell, the inventor of the VizKid, they certainly don’t help. Tinted windows (now standard in the second and third rows of minivans and SUVs) are great for the comfort and privacy of backseat passengers, but they also make those passengers invisible. So if the driver or other adult leaves the car in a hurried or distracted state, he or she could not see the child from outside the car. Nor could anyone passing by -- people who could literally have been a life line for that child.

Bell’s invention, the VizKid, is a visual cue to drivers and passers-by that a child is in the back seat. After seating and buckling the child, the driver lifts the VizKid upright and buckles it into the front row passenger seat. Ideally, when the driver leaves the car and takes the child, the VizKid goes down again. If the driver is distracted when s/he exits the car, but sees the VizKid before walking away, tragedy avoided. If the driver does leave, someone else could see the VizKid in the front seat and rescue the child before it is too late.

Check out the VizKid and Visible Kids LLC here.

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