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Recent events in the news have taught GM that a change needs to be made. Over the summer, it seemed like a weekly occurrence to hear about another child being left in the backseat of a car, oftentimes dying of heat stroke. In fact, in 2016 alone, 39 children died as a result of being left in vehicles or gaining access to an unattended vehicle, a 60 percent increase over 2015’s figure.

With technology in the automotive industry improving in new models each year, GM sought to make a change that could save lives, and their new 2017 models appear to be doing just that.

This industry-first system feature, called the Rear Seat Reminder, monitors rear door usage and is designed to remind drivers to check the back seat of their vehicle before they exit or walk away from their vehicle.

“We want to help everyone to take one simple, extra step. That’s why Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac will offer the Rear Seat Reminder on a broad range of vehicles, from small cars to full-size SUVs and everything in between,” Vice President of GM Global Vehicle Safety Jeff Boyer said.

How does the technology work? The Rear Seat Reminder system will activate when either rear door is opened and closed up to 10 minutes before the vehicle is started or while the vehicle is running. Once activated, the system sounds five chimes and displays a message on the drivers electronic dashboard display that reads “Rear Seat Reminder/Look in Rear Seat” the next time the vehicle is turned off.

Since the system itself cannot detect items in the backseat, it’s crucial that the driver check before exiting.

The Rear Seat Reminder debuted earlier this year on the all-new 2017 GMC Acadia. Models to offer this feature are:

  • 2017 Buick Lacrosse
  • 2017 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV
  • 2017 Cadillac CT6
  • 2017 Chevrolet Cruze and Cruze Hatchback
  • 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
  • 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2017 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2017 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2017 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2017 GMC Yukon
  • 2017 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2017 GMC Sierra
  • 2017 GMC Canyon
  • 2018 Cadillac XT5
  • 2018 Cadillac CTS and CTS-V
  • 2018 Cadillac ATS
  • 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

The monitoring system will be available in additional 2018 vehicle models, to be announced at a later date.

According to Kate Carr, the president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, “This new technology developed by General Motors will give busy parents and caregivers the important reminder to always check the back seat. The safest way to protect a child from heatstroke is to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, and features like Rear Seat Reminder, coupled with continued public education, can help combat this preventable tragedy.”

GM continues to lead the way in advanced technology for its vehicles, and many look forward to seeing how the Rear Seat Reminder will make an impact in communities.