By on June 14, 2016

2017 All-New GMC Acadia Denali

Sometimes, someone invents a device that perfectly sums up the world we live in. Selfie sticks and microwave bacon racks are good examples, but GMC has a strong candidate with its Rear Seat Reminder.

The automaker just announced that the new warning chime, which monitors the rear doors of the 2017 Acadia SUV, will alert drivers to the fact that they’ve procreated, and that their vulnerable offspring is currently sitting in the backseat.

Please check back there and remove the child before leaving the vehicle, the industry-first chime (and associated dash warning light) suggests.

The feature, which comes standard on the next Acadia and will likely become a common sight in other cavernous utilities, was developed in response to real — and all too common — tragedies. Checking the backseat can slip a driver’s mind when, for example, child transport isn’t part of their normal commuting routine.

Here’s how the warning works, according to GMC:

The feature is intended to activate when either rear door is opened and closed within 10 minutes before the vehicle is started, or if they are opened and closed while the vehicle is running. Under these circumstances, the next time the vehicle is turned off after a door activation, the Acadia is designed to sound five audible chimes and display a message in the driver information center that reads, “Rear Seat Reminder / Look in Rear Seat.”

According to the Associated Press, at least 12 children have died so far this year after being left alone in hot cars. And the year isn’t even half over.

Children’s advocacy groups Kids and Cars and Safe Kids Worldwide have praised the automaker for developing the system and called for wider adoption.

[Image: General Motors]

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81 Comments on “‘Rear Seat Reminder’: GMC Adds Warning Chime So You Don’t Forget You Have a Kid...”


  • avatar

    As I was returning from THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – after meeting the current Justices (minus Scalia and Alito) – and having BREAKFAST with justice Ginsburg… (I can’t even make that up)

    I saw a car at a rest stop with a puppy inside and the window rolled down only a pinky’s length.

    I thought to myself:

    “If I smashed open the window: would I be hailed as a hero?”

    “Is it OK to smash all the windows – just for overkill?”

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Wow

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Steph, I get the selfie stick hate, sure – but what’s wrong with bacon racks?

    I don’t use them myself, and reserve back for weekends when I have time. But if I had kids and crazy work hours and no time, thereby requiring food falling more on the fast vs good side of the spectrum, I’d probably try to do all I could to make the “fast” bacon taste like the “good” bacon.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Now we need a chime that senses the baby seat left on the roof of the car.

  • avatar

    Anybody who questions the need for this might not actually have children. It’s incredibly easy to forget that a sleeping child in a rear-facing seat is in the backseat. I’ve never done it, but I’ve gotten dangerously close.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      +1. We should also remember that parents of young children tend not to get much sleep themselves, which makes them even more susceptible to terrible mistakes.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Sounds like something evolutionary pressure was already taking care of.

        • 0 avatar
          Detroit-Iron

          I never came close, and before I had kids I might have cracked wise, but it is the stuff of nightmares. Nothing to hate on here, it’s not like the 1 to 4 CAFE shift or the rise of the non-work pickup truck. It’s just a very non-invasive way to prevent something horrifying. I think brake assist is way crazier. If nobody opens the back doors it is a non-issue.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      But you didn’t forget. Just as I didn’t with either of mine. Rain, shine, tired, sick, busy, never happened. It’s called responsibility.

      Judging by the people I see on the news that typically do this, they aren’t going to be able to take advantage of this feature until 15 years from now when the trucks hit the BHPH lots.

      • 0 avatar
        davew833

        The first thing people do when they park is check their smartphones. I do it myself. It’s caused me to leave all kinds of things in the car I intended to take where I was going, including keys. I think this is a major contributing factor to children being left in the car.

      • 0 avatar
        Sjalabais

        +1. I’ve been so tired with small kids, when people asked me how old I was, I used the better part of a minute to calculate this random bit of information. Not even joking.

        But forgetting a kid in the car? How is that even possible? Life rotates around your offspring and ‘forgetting’ is not an option.

        • 0 avatar
          sirwired

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/fatal-distraction-forgetting-a-child-in-thebackseat-of-a-car-is-a-horrifying-mistake-is-it-a-crime/2014/06/16/8ae0fe3a-f580-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They need a warning reminding parents to count the number of children they have with them when they get in the car.

      Cause I got left at the grocery store once.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’m sorry, Bark, I think this is simple irresponsibility (or forgetfulness triggered by the stress of parenthood, if you want to put it in less accusatory terms). I have two kids and NEVER forgot them, not once.

      • 0 avatar

        Sure—but you think kids should die because their parents are irresponsible/forgetful? Because this happens all. the. time.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Kids die all the time because they have irresponsible parents. Death by being left in the car is relatively uncommon though. 37 out of 20,000,000 kids ages 0-4 die in hot cars every year. Heck, kids under four are more likely to be victims of homicide with a firearm than left in a car.

          Still, if GM wants to throw this in their vehicles fine. It doesn’t cost anybody anything. How about they put it in every car though. Since kids are often left in the car by the parent that usually doesn’t drop off at daycare daily, maybe rolling it out on the Acadia isn’t the best place to start.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    So, you and some friends get in your GMC and you drop off the rear seat people on your way home. As a reward, when you arrive home and go to get out, DING-DING-DING-DING-DING! Thanks. Can this be turned off?

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Read Gene Weingarten’s Pulitzer-Prize winning article about kids roasting in cars that appeared in the Washington Post. You won’t make fun of such a feature any more.

    Summary: These parents are neither irresponsible or morons, just forgetting the wrong thing at the wrong time to tragic results.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      I googled it, good article.

      You know how once every few years you leave a car door wide open? Seems impossible to forget something so obvious but it can happen to any of us.

      Fortunately my daughter is a noisy monster.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        Wow…that hit home.

        Last weekend, I left the car door wide open for a few hours after unloading groceries; fortunately, it was parked in my locked garage. I’m glad that the interior lights shut themselves off, to avoid draining the battery.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        I’ve not (unknowingly) left my kids in the car yet. When they were really young and asleep most of the day, I would leave them in while I run in the grocery store for 15 minutes or so – but only if it’s less than 60F outside. No issue there to buckle them in and lock the doors and close the windows. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t do it again because now there are so many more windshield-breaking warriors out there.

        The one time I forgot to close my door, I drove my car into my garage like any other day and put a nice dent-scratch on my new car. I still have not fixed that dent-scratch 4 years later.

        • 0 avatar

          Nowadays, that’s a misdemeanor in most places. Not saying that it should be, but it is. Had a friend do a couple of weekends in county for leaving her kids buckled in the car while she went in to use the restroom at a gas station.

  • avatar

    I hope they add a chime to remind you to be careful when procreating in the rear seats. I’ve almost forgotten the appropriate protection while engaged in such activities. Been almost 50 years but a chime would have been nice.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Why am I seeing ads for £199/ month Kias?

  • avatar
    maserchist

    How much longer until the “uplink downlink – telemetry chime” is installed & will people be OK with Big Brother taking a “free” ride with them wherever they go ?

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    It is beyond me how you can forget that you have a child in the backseat. I just don’t understand.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Imagine this: You are up most of the night with a colicky baby. In the morning, you drive to work, exhausted, except today is the day your wife has a Dr. appt, so you have to take the baby to daycare. But, you are so tired you forget, and drive to work instead, like you always do.

      The baby falls asleep in the back, and you get caught up in the TPS report that is due that day, and the meeting with your top client. So you get out of the car and go to work, accidentally leaving the baby in the back of a car that soon gets very hot in the sun.

      I’m not excusing it. But the fact is that people make mistakes, sometimes horrific mistakes. If a simple timer or sensor can save a few young lives, it sounds worthwhile to me.

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        Sorry, no. This isn’t like forgetting to close the garage door at night because you are distracted, or forgetting to feed the dog one morning. If you screw this up, *your child will DIE.* The consequence of this mistake is, one of the most precious people in your life will die one of the most horrific deaths imaginable. I’m never going to understand so I’ll just leave it at, ‘There but for the grace of God,…’

        • 0 avatar
          onyxtape

          Exactly. On top of your normal busy life/work/errands schedule, add to it 80% less sleep. Anything that doesn’t yelp loudly (like plants) is liable to be neglected.

          Most parents will tell you they’ve come close to doing it themselves. For me, I dropped off my kid sleeping in his car seat, and after I situated all his supplies and milk in the fridge I left him at the daycare without taking him out of the car seat. That’s really just a few more small steps away from leaving him in the car unknowingly. Our kid was sickly back in those days, and there were spans of multiple days without any meaningful sleep. Not an excuse, I know, but it happens very easily to any parent. I can only imagine people on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum who have to work 16 hour days on multiple jobs and have 20 times my worries in life.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      You know how lack of sleep accumulates? Imagine a year of that. By then you’ve switched from the clip-in infant seats that are impossible to forget about (because if the kid isn’t in the car, the seat isn’t either) to a massive rear-facing seat that covers the child so completely that you could look into the car from the side and not notice that the seat is occupied. We now have to use those seats in the rear-facing position until the kid is 3, and a lot of people are lobbying to push that number higher.

      That’s why this didn’t used to happen – seats used to be small and forward-facing. You could see your child. I also get the feeling that long work hours weren’t as common, at least in my field. My blood is half caffeine by now.

  • avatar

    Oh my god…I left the baby on the bus !!!

    Parenting is not a 100% occupation. You don’t become magically hyper competent. Still, between you and the spouse, someone is always “holding the ball”. It isn’t remembering to close the windows, its a person.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    Talk about overkill, in my opinion this goes against the very concept of why the Darwin Awards were created. If people need to be reminded their kid(s) are in the back seat they probably shouldn’t be having them. Good work GMC-you’re helping to degrade the human gene pool!

  • avatar
    Acd

    Good for GMC in taking a leadership role by trying to prevent one of the most horrible tragedies a parent can ever face. Look for other family oriented vehicles to add this in the near future.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      Agree. I was home with my 3 kids for almost 12 years. Never once left them in the car but then I also wasn’t working a full-time job so I was generally well rested.

      The comments from people who aren’t parents are irrelevant. Anyone who is a parent and makes a comment like johhny ringo above is a hypocrite. Because I guarantee you way more times then they have fingers and toes they have been inattentive as parents with their kids. It takes only a couple of seconds at the wrong time for something to go horribly wrong. They aren’t great parents (bad either), they just got lucky!

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Apparently another safety device, back seat rearward facing car seats, make it possible to kill a child by concealing the child’s presence from a preoccupied parent. The parent here is a highly educated software engineer.

    “Cases of children dying in hot cars are a tragically regular occurrence — about three dozen occur in the United States each year — but Benjamin’s death has received particular attention for what has happened since. His mother, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, has become a strong advocate for technology that could warn drivers of a child’s presence in the car. She also started a blog called The Gift of Ben, where she writes about dealing with her loss.:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/nyregion/connecticut-fathers-activities-detailed-on-day-son-died-in-hot-car.html

    Back in the olden days the child would have been hooked on the front seat. So the GM device is a reaction to what happened in a case like the above.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    If its just the door that activates it, putting a sports bag in the rear seat and stopping at the diner on the way home will result in a small concert before a bacon and cheese infested, sauce-dripping hamburger is ingested?

    I see how some people may need it, and if it saves lives…good. But it is still hard to grasp how this could happen to people.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    Does this look like the beginning of a horror movie to anyone else too? Woman driving a seemingly empty Acadia through a winding mountain road, she arrives at a nice but dark mansion, pulls the key… ding-ding-ding-ding-ding “Look in Rear Seat” “LOOK” she turns slowly *scream*
    Don’t bother with Wes Craven’s mobile number, I already have a restraining order.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Well since you shrank the rear seat space why not.

  • avatar
    thenerdishere

    Let’s remember that innocent children will be saved. That’s worth celebrating.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Well going back to a post by BTSR a day or two ago, I was all in favor of him smashing the windows of a car with a dog in it that he witnessed in DC.

      I’m starting to think I should be carrying a glass breaker hammer with me any time I’m walking through a parking lot.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    Let people complain that this is further proof that the gene pool needs cleaned up. This probably costs GM a few lines of code in an already sensor laden car. I doubt spread over their lineup it costs more than a $1. So let them toss it into the standard equipment pool.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Now sez me, watch and observe a few years from now. The third owner of an Acadia sues GM because the old $0.59 Chinese-made sensor for the door chime didn’t work, and their child died when they went in the store to get cigs and pops.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    So once agin we learn Miata is the correct answer, no back seat.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      There’s a mom at our daycare that drives her newborn around in her Miata. She just plops the car seat right next to her.

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        My wife says she won’t let me do that because I drive the Miata as if it were a Miata. Ah well. It’s legal though, since the airbag can be deactivated.

        It works with newborns, but not with the massive car seats you need after the kid is close to a year old.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m all for electronic safety aids. My problem is that too many people use them as a crutch. Example: a few years back, a woman in a Suburban backed into me at the grocery store. It was just a bumper ding on my old car, so it wasn’t worth filing a police report and all that, but she gave me a whole song and dance about how her backup sensors didn’t pick up my massive old Buick. I said she should have turned her head around and looked in back of her before she backed out, but she said I should blame Chevrolet.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    GM clearly understands the intelligence level of their customers.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      You’re saying that GM customers are smart enough to realize they occasionally make mistakes and want some backup so they don’t make a horrific mistake?

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Just think, every terrible driver you see on the road had to get a license before they were allowed to do that. But those same people have right to breed as much as they want, with no oversight (and a strong likelihood that they’ll be dipping into your pocket to pay for their offspring’s upbringing).

    Sad that this is necessary, glad that it exists.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but I see a downside.

    Every day I put my laptop bag on the floor in the back seat when I drive to work. Under this system that would set off the alarm. So I would think nothing of the alarm going off, even in other circumstances.

    I would rather see the system use a sensor in the seat similar to the front seats.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      A seat sensor would mean they’d have to design something, and then worry about actually building it. As someone else noted, this is just a few lines of code.

    • 0 avatar
      wtaf

      In my experience seat sensors in most cars go off of weight. Yes?
      Problem with that is child seat weights vary greatly and infants weigh very little. While a weight sensor could tell you something is in the seat you’ll get the the same false alarm with an empty child seat installed or you if the tolerance is too high it might never signal that a child is in the seat.

      For example some of the safest seats on the market use a steel-alloy frame and easily weight more than an infant and some toddlers.

  • avatar
    TonyP

    We should also have a toilet seat that reminds me to wipe when I’m done. Or a notification on my phone to remember to breathe. I’m constantly walking around with a filthy ass and a blue face.

    Parent isn’t just a noun, it’s a verb. Take personal responsibility for the human you made.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIGuy

      I get your point Tony, but in reality there have been deaths like the article described. So obviously some people do need reminders, (Darwin’s theory not withstanding). Somebody out there asked “will somebody please think of the children?” and apparently this is GM’s way of making you do that.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyP

        Understandable. The occasional “did I leave the stove on?” moment happens to us all, but in a day and age where everyone needs to point a finger of blame or rely on someone/something else to take over their inherent responsibility, I draw the line. Weather that is being aware of your kids on the roof/backseat of a car or falling into a gorilla enclosure or eaten by an alligator. At what point do parents say “I fucked up” instead of “we need legislation”?

  • avatar

    To all the people saying “OMG HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN UR KIDS DESERVE TO DIE IF UR A BAD PARENT”—

    Shut up. No kid deserves to die a horrific, painful, cruel and unusual death because his/her parent is utterly overwhelmed and fatigued.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      +100

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      And while I’ll never say I’m always successful at it, I try to be kind and understanding.

      Maybe, just maybe one of these tots will be saved by this device, and grow up to be the nurse that comforts a 90-something-year-old BuzzDog in the 2040s…or cures cancer…or finds the key to an internal combustion system with near-perfect efficiency…or a solution that satisfies the gun lobby AND reduces mass shootings.

      Be cynical all you want, but stranger things have happened.

      Be thankful that you’re sitting safely in your climate-controlled environment, posting your beefs on your portable electronic device about some safety feature you don’t like.

      But most importantly, be glad that you have first-world problems to worry about.

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