Evenflo has released a new car seat that aims to put an end to the tragic accident of leaving a child in a hot car. The Evenflo Advanced Embrace DLX Infant Car Seat with SensorSafe features a sensor on the harness’ chest clip that communicates with a driver via WiFi through a wireless receiver plugged into the car’s data port. A series of tones alerts the driver if a child has been left in the seat after the car’s ignition is turned off. It also alerts the driver if the harness is unbuckled during transit.
This is a depressingly necessary technology. Every year, a disturbing number of children die of heat stroke from having been left in hot cars. Last year 31 children died this way, and there have already been 10 hot car deaths in 2015, with months of hot weather still in front of us. Of the 637 children who have died in hot cars since 1998, 53% were forgotten by a caregiver.
The Evenflo seat is $149.88, and it’s already out of stock online. The Walmart exclusive should be hitting the stores next month. CNBC reports that Walmart and Target have been squaring off to be the leader in low prices and high sales, and that this Evenflo deal is one of the things Walmart has been quietly working on to become more competitive in the baby industry. The exclusive Walmart deal will last a year.
“There are millions of cars in our parking lots every day and we put a challenge out to the industry,” Diana Marshall, vice president for baby at Walmart told the NY Post. “Evenflo stepped up with a first-of its kind product aimed at vehicular heat stroke.”
What does this statement mean? There are millions of cars in their parking lots, and each of them potentially has dollar signs hanging over them in the form of paranoid parents, terrified of forgetting their children in cars? Or does it mean the company actually cares about the kids who could be potentially left in those cars? The “exclusive” nature of the deal points to the former. You can almost see the Walmart execs rubbing their hands together saying, “Parents will want this DESPERATELY and we’ll be the only ones who have it! MWAHAHAHAHA.”
It’s great that the technology finally exists. It would just be nice if a technology that is considered cutting edge and could potentially save children’s lives was accessible, affordable, and not being used as a marketing ploy to drive sales. Optimistically speaking, maybe this is a technology that could eventually be sold as a replacement for the harness buckle you already have in the seat that you own, to make it more accessible to people who can’t afford to buy a whole new seat. It’s admittedly exciting technology – no matter how it’s being delivered to the consumer.