We all hear the horror stories--you know, the things that we all say would NEVER happen to us. I remember after having my daughter, I heard a story where a father dropped his oldest child off at school before heading to work, completely forgetting that he still needed to drop his baby off at daycare that morning as well (a task his wife normally did). Unfortunately, the baby passed away.
It's beyond horrifying, and stories like this break my heart for everyone involved. But I've also found myself wondering how this could even happen. How could a parent forget their child so easily? How could someone be so careless? But in reality, it's not that the parent doesn't love their child dearly, it's that we are so used to our routines and schedules that, when something is out of the ordinary, we may go into autopilot and forget something as huge as dropping a child off at daycare.
In the US alone, this is all too common. On average, 40 children every year will die from being left in a car. And although I'd love to think that will never be my child, we all have faults and we all make mistakes, especially when we are hyper-focused on other tasks that need to be completed or overly tired from taking care of a sleepless baby all night. None of us are perfect, but unfortunately, our imperfections could lead to a tragedy.
That's why I LOVE seeing amazing new products come out that help bridge that gap between our imperfections as humans, and our attempts to be the best parents we can be. One of these products is the new Doona SensAlert, an incredible device that helps prevent tragedies that come from leaving children unattended in vehicles!
What is Doona SensAlert?
Doona SensAlert is a pad that slides comfortably underneath your child in their car seat or booster seat. The pad is built to detect when a child is in their car seat in the vehicle. When you move away from the child with your phone, such as when a parent goes into a store, arrives at work, or gets home for the day, SensAlert is activated, and alerts are sent to your phone and then to emergency contacts that a child is still in the car.
SensAlert has three levels of alerts, and connects to the Doona app through the Bluetooth of your smartphone. The device activates once the child is placed into their car seat. If the phone moves away from the SensAlert device, it starts to count down. Three minutes after your phone moves out of range of the SensAlert pad, a notification is sent to the parent's phone letting them know they left their child in the car. If the notification is ignored, a second alert occurs, and you will receive a phone call informing you of the danger. If no one answers the phone call, phone calls and messages will automatically go out the the emergency contacts you have listed in your app.
In addition to the added safety that Doona SensAlert provides to our children, here are some additional features we love as parents:
Fits into most standard car seats or booster seats
Up to 3 people can be connected to a single SensAlert device, and each user can set up their own emergency contacts in the app
Alerts you when batteries are running low so you have plenty of time to change them
Batteries last 12 months on average, so you won't have to change them often
Although Bluetooth is used, it utilizes a low frequency, so it's not going to drain your phone battery
Compatible with Android and iOS devices
Has undergone strict testing, ensuring the device meets necessary certifications
Liquid resistant to minor spills and accidents
Fabrics are washable (just remove interior device first!)
How To Install Doona SensAlert
The SensAlert pad is designed to slide right through the crotch buckle of your child's infant or convertible car seat. You can then secure your infant or toddler with their harness as you normally would.
For booster seats without a crotch buckle, the SensAlert pad can be placed directly on the seat, and your child will sit right on top of it.
In either case, make sure to pay attention to the orientation of the device, and place the SensAlert with the "This Side Up" label facing up. This simple and straightforward install reduces mistakes so that the device can work properly.
Doona SensAlert has been tested with a wide range of car seats and booster seats, so it should fit easily and safely without any issues. If you're concerned that it won't fit, measure the seat space of your child's car seat or booster to make sure you have at least 8.2"L x 7.1"H x 0.7"W, which are the dimensions of the SensAlert device.
Once you've placed the device into your child's car seat or booster, download the Doona app and connect it to your device. You can then set up your emergency contacts. If you'd like your spouse or another caregiver to be able to use it as well, they will need to download the app and set their own emergency contacts.
When you're ready to activate it on your device, turn SensAlert on in the app, and you'll be ready to go.
FAQ's About Doona SensAlert
Do I have to have service for the SensAlert to work?
No! In fact, this is what makes SensAlert so genius. Although SensAlert uses Bluetooth, even if you go out of range or lose service, alerts will still be sent. This is because the device uses the cloud to send out messages/alerts.
Is it really safe to use this with my car seat or booster seat? Couldn't that affect how my car seat performs in a car crash?
It's always good to be cautious of third party products that go in your car seat, especially if they go between the seat and your baby. However, Doona SensAlert has been tested with many car seats and boosters and has been shown to be safe and not negatively effect a car seat's ability to perform as intended.
Does this alert you if your baby gets too hot as well? Or just if a child is left unattended in the car?
Doona SensAlert is designed for those situations when a child gets left in a vehicle, but is not designed to sense and alert of dangerous temperatures. However, this will still prevent many child car deaths, and the majority of these occur when infants are left unattended in a hot car.
What if I forget my phone at home? Won't this cause alerts to go off unnecessarily?
Yes, anytime your phone goes out of range of the SensAlert, signals will begin to be sent and emergency contacts will be informed. However, this is ONLY when SensAlert is turned on. If it is turned off, alerts will not go off. This is how you are able to use it with more than one device.
Doona SensAlert is an incredible technology that is sure to save lives by offering another layer of security for our children! None of us are perfect parents. We get busy, we get distracted, and sometimes we mess up. But having this simple and innovative device installed in a child's seat can be just what is needed to offer peace of mind, as well as to prevent those tragedies that we hope and pray will never happen to us!
You can shop the Doona SensAlert device NOW here at The Baby Cubby! (And don't forget to check out some of our other innovative baby gear for keeping your baby safe, such as our Cybex car seats with SensorSafe technology, in store or online at babycubby.com!)