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Nissan adds safety feature hoping to prevent hot car child deaths

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Congratulations to Nissan, why?

Every summer, tragedy strikes when children are accidentally left in hot cars, but now carmakers are coming up with solutions to prevent child deaths.

Nissan Rear Door Alert Safety and Convenience Technology

One of the most recent advancements added to modern Nissan models is the Nissan Rear Door Alert. Designed to help remind drivers to check the back seat, the Rear Door Alert increases safety for children or pets in the rear seat as well as add convenience for drivers that have stored cargo like groceries in the back row. How does the Nissan Rear Door Alert work? Here’s a brief overview of how this innovation is enhancing the driving experience.

What the Rear Door Alert Does

As mentioned before, Rear Door Alert helps remind drivers to check the back seat after parking. How does this work?

With Rear Door Alert activated, the system will detect if the rear door was opened prior to driving. If either rear door was opened and the vehicle goes into the park, Rear Door Alert will remind the driver with a notification on the instrument panel. If the driver exits the vehicle and the rear door is not opened, the horn will chirp. Drivers can choose to turn on or off this feature at any time.

For 2020, Rear Door Alert is standard in the Nissan Altima, Armada, LEAF, Murano, Maxima, Pathfinder, Rogue, Rogue Sport, and Sentra. It is available with the SV and SR trims for the Nissan Kicks, King Cab and Crew Cab trims for the Nissan TITAN, and SV and SR trims for the Nissan Versa. Nissan plans on making Rear Door Alert available to all four-door sedans, trucks, and SUVs by 2022.

Update 2019: Nissan's "rear door alert" technology could be lifesaving for a child, and it is the warning sound that is now standard equipment on 10 of its 2019 models. "We wanted to make sure we had two levels to alert the driver," said Elsa Foley, a mother of two and program manager at Nissan.

Foley, along with another engineer, proposed the patented safety feature, which was first installed in the 2018 Pathfinder. "Our goal was to get it standard on as many models as fast as possible," she said. The RDA monitors switch in the rear door prior to and after a trip. If you had opened that rear door and put your child inside, at the end of that trip, you will first be shown a warning in the center dash that says "Check Rear Seat for All Articles." But if you should walk away from the vehicle without checking the back seat, the driver is then alerted. "If you forget or don't see that message and you get out of the vehicle, if you don't go back and open and close the rear doors, then the horn honks," Foley said. "It's a very distinct horn chirp that gives your attention back to the car, says 'Hey, maybe you forgot something.'" Twenty-two children nationwide have died from heatstroke in cars since the start of 2019, according to Consumer Reports -- two of the latest to die were 1-year-old twins discovered in the Bronx Friday after their father went to work and left the children in the car for eight hours. "It's absolutely heartbreaking," Foley said. "So I'm really glad that Nissan is taking the initiative to get this out onto our vehicles as quickly as possible." The company plans to have a "rear door alert" standard on its four-door models by 2022.

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