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Babies left in cars

A challenge to manufacturers
  (+11, -2)(+11, -2)
(+11, -2)
  [vote for,

It shouldn’t be too difficult for manufacturers of cars and car-theft alarm-systems to design in a baby-in-distress feature as well.

The built-in system’s computer would “think of everything” including over-ride starting up the motor and air-conditioner.

A cheap stand-alone system for placing in any car need comprise [I suggest] no more than a temperature sensor and a sensitive auto-switch microphone that broadcasts the baby’s cries loudly enough to bring people running to the car from all sides.

Even the harried mother might hear. I have to assume of course that heat-distressed babies do cry in the early stages of distress.

rayfo, Dec 09 2000

Baking, so to speak. http://www.cnn.com/...oke.reut/index.html
Sensors watch for motion and interior temperature, and set off an alarm. [PotatoStew, Dec 09 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Another Fine Example http://www.indystar...cle.php?baby01.html
of a baby left in a car. [reensure, Aug 02 2002]

Similar idea http://www.halfbake...ure_20pager_20alarm
For dogs, not kids. [8th of 7, Aug 06 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       People would think it's just another idiot with a miscalibrated and annoying car alarm and ignore it...
StarChaser, Dec 09 2000

       What the device should do, is, when activated, it sends a signal to the local police, so that they can come and arrest the parent that left the baby there in the first place.
Fletche, Dec 09 2000

       Yeah, that'll sell like hot cakes.
jutta, Dec 09 2000

       Potential sting operation for the child welfare people?
Monkfish, Dec 09 2000

       Yes. It's another fine mess I've gotten myself into. Trouble is every situation's different. My stand-alone version obviously wouldn't work.

       So how about a cooler-unit which cools THE BABY ONLY, not the whole car therefore it can run off the lighter socket for long enough to let a caregiver badly parked, to buy - say - urgent medicine an ill parent.

       As a one-time house-husband I plead guilty to leaving a sleeping toddler in a car more than once. Life isn't either-or, it's both-and.
rayfo, Dec 09 2000

MAMA, Dec 10 2000

       Learn to use the caps lock, please.   

       Sometimes it's necessary to leave a kid in a car for a bit.
StarChaser, Dec 10 2000

       Necessary? Or more convenient?
PotatoStew, Dec 10 2000

       Anyone who breaks in to save a baby deserves to keep it!?

Uh, no.
reensure, Dec 11 2000

       Here in Arizona, it is illegal to leave a child under 6 y.o. in a car unattended.   

       As for an auto-startup -- every couple of years we hear of mothers leaving the kid in the car _with the engine on_ ...which leads to auto theft, which in turn leads the perpetrator inadvertantly committing a much larger crime -- kidnapping!
danrue, Dec 11 2000

       I don't have any kids. I was thinking of something like running back inside to get something...
StarChaser, Dec 11 2000

       Whoa, calm down killer. If you have to leave your kid in the car for a couple minutes, big deal! It's not summer all year round, and if there is nothing that's gonna kill him sitting there, who cares? It's a kid, it's not going to die if you leave it alone for 3 minutes while you run back into the store for something you forgot, especially if it's left strapped in its car-seat. I mean, if it's like 90 degrees out, yeah leaving him in there is not a good idea, but if it's not unreasonably hot or cold, what's it gonna hurt? Restrain the kid and go get what you need... 6 months in jail is pretty unreasonable, and i don't think leaving a sleeping kid in the car is worth beating yourself up (literally) over. Come on, lets use some common sense.
djhotsauce, Dec 12 2000

       Few people manage to combine sobriety and righteous indignation, Dolophine, but somehow you never lose your cool. Not even when advising people to put cigars out with their flesh in order to expiate their guilt over possibly briefly leaving sleeping toddlers in cars years ago rather than waking them.   

       It's a shame that people's throats have to get urinated down, but when it's about the Children -- well, who could argue with you? Is there any crime viler or more contemptible than that of leaving sleeping kids in locked cars, at the mercy of the elements and occasional passers-by, possibly for minutes at a time? Particularly in the crack-infested, crime-ridden urban jungle that was, let us guess, 1950s England? No, I'm as understanding as the next passionate advocate for child safety, Dolophine, but there can be no question on this -- steel rods are too good for them.
Monkfish, Dec 12 2000

       Dolophine, you made a truly idiotic comment about one of the regulars in here. The most SENIOR of the regulars as well. Rayfro suggests things for the benefit of mankind and has THE most sober and honest of voices. I would suggest that you retract your statement. Otherwise, practice-practice-practice the cigar and steel rod bit on yourelf. I've no doubt the reason Rayfro brought this up to begin with is there are cases where someone, whether a parent or babysitter leaves a child in a vehicle-gets caught up in the situation at hand and realizes that a child has been in the vehicle for an extended period of time. This summer in Los Angeles, for example-Babysitter visiting a friend realized after several hours...Child was dead.
thumbwax, Dec 12 2000

       All this kerfuffle reminds me of the news story a few years ago about a Danish woman who left her baby in its pram outside a shop in New York. She was arrested and didn't really understand why because, in Denmark, it's common to leave your baby outside shops.
So, before ranting about how people should never do something remember that not all cultures view things the same.
hippo, Dec 12 2000

       Hmm... dolophine's annotation disappeared for some reason... now why could THAT be?
djhotsauce, Dec 12 2000

       I'm somewhat disappointed I missed it, though I can reconstruct some if its more interesting content from the replies.
centauri, Dec 12 2000

       I missed the post everyone's on about, too. Something like: "Drive a highly stælable street rod, and to make sure no one sees the baby aboard, leave a burning cigar in the ashtray at all times"? Car not hot enough?
reensure, Dec 12 2000

       Thumbwax, I won't retract a syllable. Kids should not be left in cars. And for those of you who leave your kids in the car to run into the store for three minutes to get something you forgot: why would you need a "child in distress" device if its only three minutes? Lastly, don't think for a minute that my hyperbole is as bad as what is really in store for those who fail -through sloth- to protect their kids.
Dolophine, Dec 13 2000

       Recent story from the UK, a women left her child in the car whilst going into a shop, her car was stolen with the child still in there and then abandoned many miles away, with the child still in the car. The child died, something that could have been prevented by spending an extra 5 mins or so getting the child out.   

       This monitor thing, whilst a good idea in theory falls down for a couple of reasons. I you have it and lock your car, even if the alarm goes off, no-one is going to be able to come to babies rescue, but yes an alarm may bring your attention if you are not too far away, if you leave the car unlocked, then either your car could be stolen, as per above story, or even your baby could be stolen. Unfortunatly, these days criminals do not care about crowds etc.   

       All I will say, is that I can understand that in some emergency situations, you have no choice but to leave your baby in the car, but people should think long and hard about whether the emergency justifies risking your child.
Fletche, Dec 13 2000

       I have no idea where my first annotation went but to those of you who missed it the gestalt was "Under no circumstances should any child be left alone in a car, and anyone who does such a thing should be punished by themselves and the law." I must confess I am a bit chagrined by the temper of some of the responses. I never expected such expressions of rage against my purple invectives, though I suppose I should have known that my advocacy of 6 mos. jail time and self flagellation might be taken seriously some(!).   

       In all serioussnes now. To those of you who persist in the belief that it is okay to leave kids in cars, and to others who take the slightly more rational view that "it happens" so let's cede direct responsibility to a "device" let me ask   

       How long do you think it will take for some cretin to break your window, yank out your sleeping baby and bolt down the road?
Dolophine, Dec 13 2000

       Purple invective? I didn't notice that it was particularly ornate. In fact, it was rather direct. Perhaps you're too subtle, Dolophine -- it looked so much like a pea-brained, childish, self-righteous, violent, sanctimonious, abusive rant that many of us didn't realize that you had higher purposes in mind. Perhaps you could use some sort of a markup language to give us direction on how to react.
Monkfish, Dec 13 2000

       lo-jack & lo-jackie: "two thumbs up...way up"
iuvare, Dec 13 2000

       Dolophine: How many kidnappers do you think there are just running around? You seem to think that everyone except yourself is some baby-hording car-stealing scoundrel! No, i'm sorry, no one is going to steal a random person's baby, even if they are kidnappers. It would be dumb, why would you steal a baby if you couldn't get ransom money from it? Also, they aren't going to break your window to do it. You seem to believe that YOUR baby is precious to everyone else. No, I'm sorry, most babies are disgusting if they aren't yours. Therefore no one would steal a baby just so they could have it. And yes I do take the more rational approach to the situation. Believe it or not, leaving a child in the car for a couple minutes while you run back into the store for some milk does NOT make you a bad person, in fact it is a lot less bother than dragging the kid back in the store. Why this is a crime, I really am not sure, but the punishment (six months jail time?!) outweighs it by far! That's like imposing a $3,000 littering fine! It is just absurd. I understand the point that you shouldn't leave the kid there for extended periods of time, but 5 minutes is not a big deal. Really, it isn't. Lighten up, before you judge others so harshly, you may want to look around at the people you associate with. I'm SURE some of them have left a child in the car as well. Would you advocate acts of self-inflicted pain on these people? Or maybe I am the one who is over the line here... i think i'll go put out a cigar on my tongue, beat myself with an iron rod, and then slice my wrists open and just die. I simply can't handle the guilt of leaving a child in the car for the eternity that is 3 minutes!
djhotsauce, Dec 13 2000

       Laws can't prevent dilemmas occurring. That's why we have courts - to interpret laws.   

       Nor can gadgetry suit every situation.   

       But it would have prevented the local death of a baby that triggered my two ideas.   

       A mother, desperate on a very hot day to get renewal medicine for her collapsed father, parked wrongly, leaving a baby in the car with the keys in it.   

       That was to keep the aircon going while her adult sister stood where she could see the car AND her in the drugstore.   

       But a watching thief ran up, leapt into the car and drove off. The sister could do no more than rush screaming into the shop.   

       Police found the car four hours later, the keys in it, but the baby dead. The thief had left the engine running but it had used up the fuel in the tank.   

       A plug-in baby cooler might have saved this baby by keeping the keys out of the car.
rayfo, Dec 13 2000

       rayfo A device assumes the parent is in the car and turns on the AC or heat when his baby gets too hot or cold sounds downright altruisitic.   

       Thing is: We do not want to see anything that makes it easy for even an accidentally slaggard parent to leave a helpless child unattended, so it needs a fail-safe prophylaxis. (Though I cannot imagine what that would be.) We cannot have parents thinking that something will take care of the baby while Mom/Dad is in 7/11 buying a six pack and USA Today while casting sidelong glances at whatever it is that arouses prurient interest or reminds him/her of what life could be like w/o the awesome responsibility in the safety seat.   

       Also: Gven that all humans younger than 18 months (? I have to check with my kid's pediatrician for the cut-off age) have ontogenetically timed difficulties regulating body temperature, why not a device that makes noise every time a child's temp goes above or below 98.6 degrees? Moreover, give it [the device] aegis over the kid's entire life and have him wear it always, so that it can signal distress regardless of where the kid is?   

       Monkfish, Thanks a "lotte" for the head's up. I'll try to comeup with a system something to make the super and subtext more explicit.   

       Djhotsauce, "No, I'm sorry, most babies are disgusting if they aren't yours." I don't mind you jumping all over me because of my opinions, but try to be kind to those who are pre-operative. (Maybe you were kidding?)
Dolophine, Dec 14 2000

       Dolophine: The point I made was that most people consider other people's babies to be ugly and gross, especially someone who would be vile enough to steal a car. The idea was that no criminal is going to steal a baby just so he can have it for himself. And why do you have to be getting a 6 pack of beer to leave your child in the car? Are you saying people who drink alcohol are automatically "slaggard" parents? And are you saying those of us who don't (such as myself) would never leave a child in the car? The point is that you are obviously overprotective of your children, especially if you think you need to know every time your child's temperature is not right at 98.6 degrees. Temperature fluctuates. It's a fact of life, it doesn't mean your child is going to die. All i can say is that when your child grows up under your overprotection, he will someday move away and never want to come back. As a great philosopher once said, "Hold a bird too tight in your hand, and you will snuff it out." I have seen it happen, and unfortunately you come off as the same type.
djhotsauce, Dec 14 2000

       djhotsauce: Where do you get the idea that most people consider other people's babies to be ugly and gross? From my experience, most people seem to think babies are cute, whether the baby is theirs or not. Also, you speak as though no baby has ever been abducted. If you ever look at the news or read a newspaper you'll see that this is not the case. While it may not be common, it does happen, be it by accident (like in the case rayfo mentions) or on purpose. And, horrible as it is, ransom is not always the motive.
PotatoStew, Dec 14 2000

       Was going to mention that, I have read a few cases where babies have been stolen, usually by people who for whatever reason, can't have babies and see a quick solution to that, yeah they get caught and the child is usually returned, but that is not really the point here.
Fletche, Dec 14 2000

       djhotsauce: Scroll up and you will see that you wrote "No, I'm sorry, most babies are disgusting if they aren't yours" not "Most people think other's babies are disgusting." Also I was being ironic when I suggested that a kid's body temperature be monitored constantly (but maybe you knew that and your'e pulling my leg?)   

       And where did I write that someone who leaves their kid in the car for whatever reason is a "bad" person? (I suppose I should have, but then I can't think of everything.) After acknowledging that my earliest annotation was deliberately hyperbolized for rhetorical effect, I wrote in essence that there was no need for rayfo's device because under no circumstances should babies be left alone in cars.   

       In retrospect I can imagine though that there might be a few circumstances under which temporary abandonment of a baby of would be appropriate, for instance   

       A guy pulls up in front of store with his wife and newborn. His wife goes into the store and is accosted by a rapist. He decides to leave the baby in the car to save his wife.   

       The rapist kills the wife, cuts his throat, buggers him and makes off with the baby. (But then hell, if there is a device in the car that sets off an alarm when the baby cries as it is being fenestrated, well then, that's a good thing.)   

       In closing I'll take your comment about my being an overprotective parent as a compliment.
Dolophine, Dec 14 2000

       Parenting techniques and criticism aside, sociological/psychological/physiological opinions/facts aside ... my comment on the INVENTION (that thing mentioned up the top, above all of this) is that the INVENTION is *conditional* on the event of "baby left in car" having already occured, in which case, two things could happen if the 'Monitor' is there or not...   

       Monitor is there : baby does not end up dead (because of heat, that is).
Monitor isn't : baby may/may not end up dead.

       Now, I may not like children, but I can see that this invention is based on a value of human life, NOT on encouraging parents to leave infants in a car (whether it does or not is another discussion which can be applied to ALL technology).
The nature/mindset/ability/alcoholic tendencies of these parents is really irrelevant to the Halfbakery, don't you think? We should be discussing the invention, shouldn't we? Granted, social implications are important, but this is getting ridiculous...
Detly, Dec 14 2000

       idea: noun, Thing you have to scroll through to get to the arguing.
PotatoStew, Dec 14 2000


       Whether "Aristotle" is simply the handle you chose for halfbakery, or is perhaps your actual name is irrelevant to the fact that, whenever I see your posts, I can't help but think that they will be argued clearly, succinctly and logically. For Aristotle is widely considered to be among the greatest thinkers and the father of logic.   

       Consequently, I find your your suggestion to stop arguing quite amusing.
iuvare, Dec 14 2000

       I concur, waugsqueke.   

       ...*disclaimer: it should be known that my previous annotation had no hidden motive and should be taken at face value. It was in no way meant to undermine Aristotle's intent which, I believe, was to mediate and/or calm the waters of a heated debate...
iuvare, Dec 14 2000

       In rereading the the original concept I see that it seems generally focused on instances where babies find themselves in distress due to a sharp rise or decline in body temperature. Casting aside for a moment all subsequent discussion of context (babies left in cars etc.) and maintaining focus on the original idea, it seems to be an argument for a warning device that signals when an infant's (children beyond 18mos do not have the same problem) body temperature begins to go too high or low (+/-2degrees).   

       Such a device would be easy to build and cheap to make -though I cannot imagine why it would need to be hard wired into a car. As for the device having the ability to recognize the difference between a baby's cries of distress, that seems a bit tougher, though I suppose one could design a bit of software that could compare rate of change in body temperature to known patterns of crying (and the realtime crying pattern) and make a go of it that way.   

       And as for the device alerting the police, I cannot imagine why this would be necessary unless the child was on its own with no parental supervision. Which of course brings us back to the questions that so many find so nettling and might yet send the idea back into to bake shop.   

       1) Under what circumstances would an infant be left alone long enough that its body temp might go up or down too fast without a parent knowing about it?   

       2) Should a parent ever leave a child alone that long?   

       3) Is a precipitous decline or elevation in body temp the worst threat to a child that has been left unattended? (And if the answer is no, well then should not the device also be sensitve to those threats too?)   

       In closing I want to add that it is amazing how easy it is to be misread here and to observe how eager some folks are to superimpose their own ideas on what others have said. One who has admitted to deliberately leaving a child alone in a car is said by another to have done so "accidentally." Likewise, one writes about a hypothetical irresponsible parent who leaves a baby in a car to pick up a six pack and an other accuses him of making judgemenets about people who consume alcohol. It's just like real life, inscrutable (whacked).
Dolophine, Dec 15 2000

       Djhotsauce, "No, I'm sorry, most babies are disgusting if they aren't yours." OH MY GOD.

Solution in sight. Matching garters for the parent and child. Parent's garter registers temperature change by electrical heating of a button on the skin--for every degree temperature change of the baby, the parent experiences a fifteen fold increase in temperature in, say, an underarm or groin. Learn or burn, baby.
reensure, Dec 16 2000

       Perhaps a device that detects the presence of anyone in the car and is connected to a climate control aircon system. So even dear old Pop who has fallen asleep while you go for some milk can be protected.   

       At the risk of being publicly castigated (or worse), I HAVE DONE IT! Left a child in a car. Deliberately! The child was asleep, the car was locked, and alarmed, and I held the keys, while I paid for the petrol (gas). And I dare say that from about 6 weeks from now I may well do it again.   

       As StarChaser said at the top, "Sometimes it's necessary to leave a kid in a car for a bit."
Alcin, Jan 01 2001

       To go back a few paragraphs, if you want to prevent the "car being stolen with a baby in it" scenario, why not invest in the car alarm add-on (Clifford, I think?) that has a second key fob. This is always kept separate from the car keys. In the event of car-jacking or theft from outside a shop when the engine is running, simply press the panic button and it shuts the motor off, allowing the car to come to a slow halt - it applies the brakes in a gentle manner after shutting off power. Slightly off-topic, but may help some people
ickledinkle, Jan 11 2001

       Hey, hold on! We're talking about a renewable resource here. It's not like you can't make more babies! (Jeez, as if there were too few of them already). If something really needs to be done about this, I suggest an ejection seat. Temperature gets too high in the car, baby pops up out the roof. Problem solved.
Swift, Mar 08 2001

       What's The Catch? heehee
thumbwax, Mar 09 2001

       Until now, two months after the last post, you mean. <grin>
StarChaser, Apr 28 2001

       It's illegal here to leave a car running unattended, and probably a felony to leave a baby in a running car unattended. You can be arrested for leaving anything alive and unable to get out of a parked car.

Doesn't matter; two weeks ago at the gas station a dude left a daughter in a carseat and what appeared to be a three-four year old girl in the backseat of his running convertable (classic--nice car) while he went in to the convenience store and stood in line for almost five minutes. My carpool waited until he came out because we aren't in the best neighborhood for w/a/s/p visitors to leave cars unattended, and no one had anything to say. Bastard.
reensure, Apr 28 2001

       Conbine this idea with 'baby's first ejection seat' and you've got a great thing going.
sirching, Jul 07 2002

       Making it illegal to leave a baby in a car because someone might leave the baby too long or in too- hot weather is like making it illegal to feed a child dessert because someone might feed them nothing else and make them sick.   

       There is no epidemic of children dying in cars. There is no significant risk of kidnapping. Children don't need to be watched constantly wherever they might be. The risk of a child being kidnapped has fallen along with the risk of every other crime across the board in 90% of the western world for the last three decades.   

       It's a social insanity related to the allergy-like symptoms societies are exhibiting these days. Other symptoms are security theater in airports, zero tolerance laws in schools, and the the US's eroding constitution.   

       When the response to a problem is causing more problems than ignoring the problem would, the response needs to be scaled way back.   

       Sometimes something does NOT need to be done about that, we do NOT need a law for that, and that person should not be arrested.
Voice, Apr 21 2014

       "MAMA", the seventh anno from the top - IN ALL CAPS - created an account on the day this idea was created, apparently solely for the pupose of annoing on this idea, and then never used the account again.
normzone, Apr 21 2014

       Slogan: No child let behind...   

       in a car.
popbottle, Nov 21 2014

       Wouldn't it be more satisfying to splice water-bear dna into all babies, then the little buggers would survive heat, cold, vacuum, radiation etc?   

       Might put the NSPCC out of business mind you.
not_morrison_rm, Nov 22 2014

       You're only like three thousand years ahead of time. Relax, enjoy the view.   

       After 14 years it does seem that 6 months in prison is a bit severe. After all, I don't think Russian roulette is illegal, and the probabilities are worse. I don't think I get distracted for hours more often than one-sixth of the time I leave the car temporarily.
RickRantilla, Nov 27 2014


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