So-called “CrackBerry” addicts and their iPhone-crazed equivalents often seem to care more about their devices than the people around them. But as part of a new public safety campaign, General Motors thinks it has found a way to turn that boorish behaviour into a 21st-century life-saving tool.
GM recently teamed up with the non-profit group Safe Kids USA to warn car owners about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles during the warm summer months. They cited research showing an average of 37 children have died in the United States every year since 1998 from hyperthermia after being left inside sweltering cars, trucks and SUVs. Many of the deaths are the result of parents who simply forget to drop their children off at school or daycare on the way to work—leaving them in the backseat while they head up to the office and the mercury rises.
So GM and Safe Kids recommended parents take steps to prevent future tragedies, including placing a “cellphone, PDA” or other important items in the rear seat in front of their child. “This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child before leaving.” Probably a sensible idea, even if it’s a disappointing comment on modern parenting.