Children Left in Hot Cars to Die

Sadly, there has been yet another child left in a hot car death.

These are preventable deaths – and not the whole blame the parent issue.

Yes, the parent is to blame; however, in agile project management placing blame is not the focus. Recognizing problems and coming up with solutions is the focus in agile project management.

What are the factors that lead up to a parent leaving a child in a car to die?

  1. Societal – parents forced to work crazy hours
  2. Parents get little sleep and little break when they have children
  3. Cars are not equipped to keep their interior cool when left unattended
  4. Cars are not equipped to understand if there are still occupants in the car after they have been locked

There are complex and expensive ways to address some of these problems and there are not so expensive and simple ways to address some of these problems.

Potential solutions:

  1. Societal changes recognizing that parents are the protectors of the next generation of our country. When a parent loses a child, the country loses a piece of the future. It could have been an important piece – we will never know. Since the future is in the hands of the parents – aids should be made available to parents to make them not be exhausted and severely pressured every day of their lives.
  2. In this case (and in many cases like this) the parents are both working and one parent needed to take the child to day care on the way to work. The cheap solution is that day care facilities track who comes to them every day. And when they don’t arrive (say 1 hour after start time) they call the parents to find out if the child is coming to day care.
  3. It is not technically difficult for many cars to be modified to automatically lower windows a little bit and open sun roof a little to ease the heat build-up in a car. Other more expensive options could be entertained in car design so that cars will never reach the high human killing temperatures that they reach now.
  4. Cars already have sensors due to airbags to determine if there is a person present or not. When people have children an option should be equipped to beep the horn when the doors are locked and sensors indicate there is a human present (by weight) in the seats.

Since hot car deaths of children do not happen frequently, any of the four above – and #2 in specific would reduce the number significantly. With a little thought other options could be thought of….

Such as:

  1. Infant car seats that connect to the car. Cars monitor for the presence of children only in the car seats.
  2. Cars equipped with infrared sensors to check for occupancy after the car is turned off.
  3. A simple wire connecting the child seat to a switch – the logic is the car checks the switch AND checks if the car is off. If both are true, all windows are placed in to their lowered position. This would get the attention of the parent leaving the car. They could go back and remove the child, remove the connector, close up the car and do what they need to do.

Instead of blaming the parent(s) – lets figure out how to make these kind of fatalities never happen ever again.

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