It’s well into summer time and in the parenting blogosphere, that means I’ll spend the next month of August cringing at my desk. This is the time of year when those news stories flood in about infants being left to die in baking cars while their overextended, frazzled parents went into the bank or the supermarket and forgot. It’s such a believable scenario in our over-scheduled lives and I find myself squirming with the stories I just know that I’ll end up encountering as the second half of summer presses on. But with news that some of those “forgotten-babies devices” aren’t always a sure thing either, I’m worried how many more busy parents might unknowingly forget their precious cargo.
The Washington Post reports that the ChildMinder Smart Pad System, the Deluxe Padded Safety Seat Alarm System and SafeBABI proved to be “too inconsistent,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Kristy B. Arbogast, a researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who tested the aforementioned devices, explained that although they are “well-intended,” these gadgets frankly aren’t trustworthy with your baby’s life. Among the various “limitations,” Arbogast discovered the following:
The NHTSA report said that in some cases, spilled liquids caused malfunctions, cellphone use was found to interfere with some device signals, devices turned off and on during travel, and an improperly positioned child caused seat pads to malfunction.
“In sum, the devices require considerable effort from the parent/caregiver to ensure smooth operation,” the report said.
Arbogast tells the Post that “refinements” to these devices are already coming down the pike and that electronic alarms released after her research began were not tested. However, considering that these alarm systems don’t work all that well without “considerable” awareness, I definitely don’t think that already addled parents are getting their money’s worth — or their concerns adequately assuaged. Time to invest in that simple wristband, mommies.