Press Releases, Car Seats and Morons

Alex L. Dykes
by Alex L. Dykes
press releases car seats and morons

When you’ve been in the biz for a while your email address becomes the destination for daily press releases. It’s a slow day if I only get six releases about sales numbers, five about a new paint color on a car nobody cares about and something from BMW bragging about German superiority. But today a press release caught my eye. No, it wasn’t about a new car, a new hybrid technology or a new photo of a Weiner running for mayor, it was a about a car seat. Have I been corrupted? Am I now going to copy/paste the press release on TTAC?

The reason the Tomy IAlert caught my eye is that this has to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard of. Seriously folks. A “smartphone connected child seat?” What’s next? A smartphone connected wet fart?

Aside from the concept being asinine, the YouTube video is worse. I’m not going to bother posting a link because that would somehow be supporting the sheer madness. If you care, google. In the video, the dad pops the seat into a minivan (of course) and then has to refer to the smartphone app for installation instructions. Seriously, I don’t have kids and I know how to install a car seat properly. I read the instructions once with my friends and had no problems popping that bad boy into my car when I needed to take my godson somewhere. Yes I know LATCH anchors are a bit more involved than car seats of the 1980s, but I want to meet the parent who needs to refer to an app every time. So I can send them to be sterilized. We don’t need those genes in the pool folks.

Yes, the seat has a fancy digital level so you can tell if the thing is at the right angle. Guess what? Most rear facing seats have a level indicator as well. It’s a metal ball in a little plastic raceway and it doesn’t involve Bluetooth pairing or batteries to charge/replace. The “old” seat is also faster; this dad has to pause, take out his phone, unlock it, start the app, wait for it to sync with the seat and then adjust. Meanwhile the guy with the “dumb” seat is already at the park.

But wait! It gets worse! The app will also tell you if your kiddo is strapped in. The video shows mom driving the van, glancing down to check the app. Where do I even begin? Instead of looking at the app, how about paying attention so you don’t get in an at-fault accident? Should your progeny unbuckle themselves, the app will test message and/or email your family. Why? I have no idea. So they can track you down? Shame you the next time you show your head?

If none of these features seemed strange to you, here’s something fun. They claim that 33 kids died of heatstroke in hot cars last year. To combat this problem, they didn’t put a huge sticker on the seat saying “don’t leave your kid in a black car in the Phoenix sun,” they integrated temperature monitoring so you know when your kid is fully cooked. Yet again the video shows the driver glancing DOWN at the smartphone on the passenger seat to check the temperature of the car seat. While in motion. Hello, you’re in the same car, just do what every other mom does: reach back and use your hand to see if its hot back there. Making this feature all the more insane is the fact that the app appears to communicate over Bluetooth. If you leave your kid in the car and expect a short-range data protocol to relay temperature information to isle 23 at the WalMart, you get what you have coming.

If you have cash to burn Amazon will happily sell you one for 350 smackers.

Join the conversation
2 of 40 comments
  • Panzerfaust Panzerfaust on Jul 27, 2013

    This had to have been thought up by an attorney. All this does is expand the amount of money awarded when the intrinsic flaws in this system are revealed by reality/stupidity. So instead of being able to sue 'just' the seat manufacturer, and the car manufacturer you can also include Apple, Motorola as well as Verison, Sprint (fill in your favorite carrier). Can anyone say 'class action lawsuit?' Sure you can, I knew you could.

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Jul 28, 2013

    Well, I am uneasy with leaving a kid in a car for any reason unless there's an adult in there with them. We waited in the car with my dad many times while mom popped into the local Wrigley's for bread or milk. Heard about a lot of Al Kaline home runs on the car's AM radio that way! That car didn't have air conditioning but it didn't seem to matter then with the windows down. I will not be the person to tell people with children how to raise those children, or even how to protect them. Our society is full of know-it-all politicians and bureaucrats that are dumber than the masses. Your family's safety is your deal and I'll trust you to use good judgement. But if the kid dies on your watch and you were found to be texting, buying beer, visiting the 7-Eleven redbox, or whatever other stupid thing you were doing, then you will not want me on your jury, especially if you did something against state or federal law. You assess the risk and act accordingly, and as a fellow citizen, I'll trust you as long as you're right. But be wrong even once, well I guess that's how it works.

  • 2ACL If I'm going to battle 30-year-old BMW problems, then the car had better be representative of their greatest hits. I hear the M42 is a decent motor, but it just doesn't personify BMW excellence of the period. Also did some digging in the seller's other posts to try and determine the transmission type. . ."Test drive was magnificent, for an automatic, it eventually gets up to speed." Free-revving four + four-speed slushbox = definite pass.
  • SCE to AUX This is good news, as long as the Tesla plug can deliver the kind of power needed in the future. I'm not sure that's a settled matter.
  • SCE to AUX Hyundai/Kia/Genesis, if we're talking mfrs of consequence in the EV space.But to their credit, they've tried to remain distinct from the Tesla approach to everything. They've been quick to respond to the Biden IRA domestic content stuff for EVs (by building more US plants), so maybe they'll jump on this NACS bandwagon.
  • FreedMike I guess it's good to hear they finally made the third row livable - the one on the old RX was a joke - but, man, is this generic-looking.
  • Alan I read the front wheels are driven by the engine and the rear wheels by electric in the hybrid. I also find it odd it isn't offered as the 2.4 hybrid with 250kw on tap.