GM Adds Rear Seat Reminder to 20 Models, Targets Subpar Parents

gm adds rear seat reminder to 20 models targets subpar parents

General Motors’ Rear Seat Reminder technology, designed to alert drivers to check the back seat when exiting their vehicles, will be offered on a multitude of Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles by the 2018 model year.

Having made its debut in the 2017 GMC Acadia earlier this year, the technology aims to prevent heatstroke-related deaths and reduce the number of children left unattended in parking lots.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists heatstroke as one of the leading causes of non-traffic vehicle-related fatalities for children under fourteen. According to, that works out to an average of 37 fatalities per year. The majority of the time, those children were simply forgotten in the back.

GM’s Rear Seat Reminder works by monitoring the vehicle’s rear doors. The feature activates whenever a 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 already running. When the vehicle is turned off after a door activation, the system sounds five audible chimes and a display message reminder drivers to “Look in Rear Seat.”

Still, you have to wonder if a succession of not incredibly urgent tones is enough to grab someone’s attention. I once spent twenty minutes in an Uber where the driver effectively ignored the seatbelt chime for the trip’s duration. It’s also worth noting that the system doesn’t actually sense items or people in the rear seat. It can only recognize if the rear doors were opened and shut prior to setting off.

While it’s despicable that we exist in a reality where there is a calling for this type of technology, if it saves a single life, it will have been worth implementing.

“This new technology developed by General Motors will give busy parents and caregivers the important reminder to always check the back seat,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide in a statement. “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.”

Since the technology is an industry-first safety feature, don’t be surprised to see similar systems cropping up on other brands — but not before it arrives on slew of updated offerings from General Motors. If you happen to be a self-absorbed or criminally forgetful person with children, these are the cars for you:

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

[Images: General Motors]

Join the conversation
2 of 77 comments
  • Dartman Dartman on Dec 07, 2016

    I understand there is a setting to turn the feature off; it's labeled "deplorable mode". Since the hoopleheads refuse to abort, procreate with abandon, and the proliferation of alcohol/tobacco/sugar/red meat is not having the intended Darwin effect of limiting the expanding ignoramus population, this may help. Seriously, kudos to GM for adding a nifty little feature at little or no cost. I recently rented a 2017 Chevy Cruze that had the feature and found it and the apple-play to be two very useful features on a otherwise very mundane car.

  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Dec 08, 2016

    " recently rented a 2017 Chevy Cruze that had the feature and found it and the apple-play to be two very useful features on a otherwise very mundane car." GM managed to ruin what was one of their only competitive (I'd say "good") vehicles relative to the class (compact sedans)? I really liked the last gen Cruze; it felt better built, far more solid and far more refined than the Civic, and especially the Corolla, Sentra & Elantra. It had a mini-Audi aesthetic to it, also. It was one of the few GM products that was not just good, but probably the best vehicle in its segment. It stands to reason that GM probably ruined it.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.