The primary objective of the study was to evaluate products that are designed to prevent children up to 24 months old from being left behind in closed, parked vehicles - a scenario that can result in heat stroke. This preliminary assessment was the first of its kind to evaluate this kind of product. The efficacy of heat stroke prevention technologies in sensing the presence of a child in a child restraint and alerting the caregiver if he or she walks away from the car without removing the child was evaluated. The study also examined the effects of child posture and the time/child movement associated with a typical commute on the efficacy of these devices.
It was found that across different evaluations, the devices were inconsistent and unreliable in their performance. They often required adjusting of the position of the child within the child restraint. The distance to activation varied across trials and scenarios, and the devices experienced continual synching/unsynching during use. For some of the devices evaluated, issues such as interference with other electronic devices and inability to function in the presence of liquids were common. In sum, the devices require considerable effort from the parent/caregiver to ensure smooth operation, and often that operation is not consistent.