GM Develops Sensor to Prevent Child Deaths

General Motors has developed a new sensor and alarm system intended to prevent the deaths
of children or pets left in vehicles in hot weather. The system will be fitted in minivans
and pickup trucks beginning with the 2004 model year. The company’s research shows that at
least 120 children have died of heatstroke in parked cars since 1996.

Once the system
detects that a child or pet is present and that the temperature is likely to reach
dangerous levels, the sensor sounds three distinct “chirp” toots on the vehicle’s horn. The
system could also be linked to emergency services through GM’s OnStar vehicle telematics
system.

Leaving a window slightly open on a sunny day may do little to prevent the heat
inside a vehicle from rising to a level that is dangerous for children, vulnerable adults
and pets.

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