Doona Just Launched a Car Seat Alert System to Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths

As temperatures start to rise this season, it can be a life-saving tool.

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Doona Lab SensAlert Tout

Parents / Tyler Roeland

As temperatures begin to rise for the season, unfortunately so do increased stories of tragic hot car seat incidents involving infants and small kids. In an effort to help prevent any more hot car deaths, Doona—the brand known for its game-changing car seat-stroller combo—launched another revolutionary new car seat alert system: the Doona SensAlert

Doona Lab SensAlert


To buy: Doona SensAlert, $99;

The Doona SensAlert is a small car seat insert that's compatible with most car seats and booster seats. The insert connects to your smartphone through a ​​cloud-based system powered by the Doona app so it doesn’t depend on your phone reception or Wifi signal. It will detect when a child is still in their seat and an adult moves away from the car when the SensAlert loses connection to the adult’s phone. This action then triggers three levels of escalating alerts to not only the caregiver’s device but also to up to five emergency contacts to ensure the child doesn't continue to be left in their car seat. 

Here’s how the three alert levels works:

  1. The first alert is a sound notification sent to the driver’s phone that they have three minutes to disable.
  2. If that first alert isn’t dismissed, they’ll get a cloud system call on their phone notifying them.
  3. If the alert still isn’t deactivated by seven minutes, an automatic call will be made to the emergency contacts you set in the app and they can dismiss the warning or request a text with the little one's GPS location.

When children are left in cars, they are at risk of dying from heat stroke, which is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths in children under 15, explains Shannon Godsil, M.D., a pediatrician at Children's Hospital & Medical Center Omaha

“Heat stroke happens when the body is not able to cool itself quickly enough and a child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's does,” she says. “When left in a hot car, a child's major organs begin to shut down when their temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A child can die when their temperature reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit.”

William Lennarz, MD, System Chair of Pediatrics, Ochsner Health concurred, also explaining that babies don't have the ability to sweat like adults do, “which is a natural cooling mechanism for our bodies, therefore they don't have the ability to regulate their body temperature.”

To buy: Doona SensAlert, $99;

And even if it isn’t a particularly sweltering day, that doesn’t matter when it comes to the back of a car. “When it is 75 degrees outside, it only takes 10 minutes for the internal temperature of a car to reach 100 degrees," according to Dr. Lennarz. "In 85-degree outside temperature, if the child's body temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child is at risk for death"

According to the National Safety Council, an average of 38 children per year under the age of 15 years old die from heat-related deaths after being left in hot vehicles. And even when parents think it can never happen to them, just between 2018 and 2019 alone, 53 children died unattended in hot vehicles explained Tamara Green, MD, MPH, a board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician and Chief Medical Officer for the Baltimore City Health Department. 

Doona Lab SensAlert


To buy: Doona SensAlert, $99;

“Parents rely on daily routines to accomplish the many tasks they complete each day,” she shared. “Research from Dr. David Diamond showed that changes in routines such as stressful events or distractions prior to a drive, sleep deprivation, even a change in the trip route—for example, running errands prior to a child drop off—can have adverse effects on even the most attentive parents’ memory and increase the risk of parents forgetting children in vehicles.”

This is why a device like the Doona SensAlert can be such a life-saving tool. As Green points out, although some large automakers have voluntarily agreed to place rear-seat reminders in their new cars sold in the US by 2025, federal legislation does not yet require vehicles to have this existing technology. 

“An app or device that creates a system of reminders to parents and caregivers would greatly benefit families and lead to decreases in the number of children left in hot vehicles,” she added. “Until this life-saving technology becomes an industry standard, apps or devices that prevent these heart-breaking accidents should be considered a necessity for parents and child caregivers.”

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