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Hot Car Dangers 8/1/14

When Lyn Balfour's son Bryce was nine months old, a change in routine and an emergency phone call from work led to the unthinkable. Lyn didn't realize, instead of dropping Bryce off with his babysitter, she'd left him behind in the car in her office parking lot and went into work.

"I couldn't believe that I could forget my own son and how that was possible. And the next thing I thought was how was I going to tell my husband that I killed his son," Balfour said.

The high temperature that day - only 66 degrees. On an 80-degree day, Consumer Reports engineers found even with the windows partially open, the temperature jumped to 110 degrees in just eight minutes. Consumer Reports evaluated a car seat that's supposed to sense a child's weight and alert you once you turn off the car.

Jennifer Stockburger Consumer Reports, "These technologies are not quite there. They're somewhat inconsistent, unreliable and in fact this seat isn't even manufactured anymore."

Mobile apps like Baby Reminder and Infant Reminder are also supposed to alert parents. But Consumer Reports says ideally technology should be integrated into the carseat or car. Jennifer Stockburger, "We have bells that remind us that we're low on gas, that we didn't buckle our seat belts. Why not one to remind us that we left our child in the car?"

For now, keep something you need like your cell phone in the back seat to remind you to check for your child. Lyn Balfour "If you think it cannot happen to you, you're wrong. And I'm here to tell you that I was one of those parents that did and I made the mistake, the ultimate price."

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright ©2014 Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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