Children and hot cars are a fatal combination. On average, there are 38 heatstroke-related deaths per year. Consumer Reports testing has shown that the temperature in a parked car can rise to dangerous levels on even a mild day. Our experts found that even when it was just 61° F outside, the temperature inside a closed car could reach more than 105° F in just an hour, an extremely dangerous and potentially fatal level for a child.

Many parents comment on social media outlets that such an accidental death would never happen to their child. But research has shown that anyone can forget a small child in a car, especially parents who have a change in their routine or those who are under stress. Just as drivers often find themselves lost in thought and navigating on autopilot, often getting to their destination without remembering details of the trip or missing a turn to run an errand, distracted parents can forget a quiet child or pet.

Several automakers now offer technology to help prevent these heatstroke deaths. Many models from a variety of automakers—including General Motors (BuickCadillacChevrolet, and GMC vehicles), HyundaiKia, and Nissan—have systems that can remind drivers that a rear door had been opened on a trip. A simple display in the gauge cluster, typically accompanied by a warning tone, encourages drivers to check the backseat.

The auto industry has commited to introduce rear seat reminders that include a combination of auditory and visual alerts in "essentially all cars and trucks" by the 2025 model year. 

More on Car Safety

Consumer Reports, along with many other advocates of child passenger safety, have pushed for automakers to provide integrated heatstroke prevention systems. And CR hopes to see them proliferate in the marketplace in many more mainstream, affordable vehicles, enabled from the factory and standard across all trims, says Emily Thomas, Ph.D., an automotive safety engineer at Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. 

CR favors systems that are delivered turned on as a default setting, because many parents don't think they could make this mistake, Thomas says. If parents or caregivers have to activate the system manually, it's less likely to be used.

Below are highlights of how these systems work based on our testing and experience. And there's a chart that lists the vehicles that have an available rear-seat reminder system. The chart indicates if the system uses door logic to issue the reminder and/or if it has a motion-detecting sensor.

Of course, whether your car has a reminder system or not, always check the backseat, and never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

GM: Buick/Cadillac/Chevrolet/GMC

GM rear seat reminder

GM’s Rear Seat Reminder notes whether a rear door was opened 10 minutes before the vehicle is turned on or anytime after the vehicle is turned on. A reminder message is displayed in the driver cluster after the engine is turned off, accompanied by multitone chimes. This system comes enabled from the factory. The door logic works reliably, but it's activated only once per ignition cycle. If drivers stop and turn off the engine, the system requires the rear doors to be opened and closed to be reactivated. 


Hyundai

Hyundai rear occupant alert screen for their rear seat reminder

Hyundai’s Rear Occupant Alert incorporates motion detection and rear-door logic. The door logic technology will be standard in most models by 2022 and the motion sensing will be optional. If either rear door has been opened before or during a trip, the system displays a warning in the instrument cluster and issues a two-tone chime after the engine is turned off to remind the driver to check the rear seat. If the rear door isn’t opened and the vehicle is locked, there are ultrasonic sensors that can detect motion up to 24 hours in the rear cabin. If the sensors detect motion, the vehicle will honk for 25 seconds and send an email or text to the owners if they're BlueLink subscribers. As long as motion is detected, the honking will be repeated, up to eight times. This system comes enabled from the factory. We found that the door logic works reliably but that the motion detection has limitations and is activated only when the vehicle is locked. 


Kia

2019 Kia Telluride rear occupant alert screen

Like the Hyundai system, Kia’s Rear Occupant Alert incorporates motion detection and rear-door logic. If either rear door has been opened before or during a trip, the system displays a warning in the instrument cluster and issues a two-tone chime after the engine is turned off to remind the driver to check the rear seat.

Despite the warning, if the rear door isn’t opened and the vehicle is locked, there are ultrasonic sensors that can detect motion up to 24 hours in the rear cabin. If the sensors detect motion, the vehicle will honk for 25 seconds and send an email or text to the owners if they are UVO subscribers. As long as motion is detected, the honking will be repeated, up to eight times. This system comes enabled from the factory. The door logic works reliably, but the motion detection has limitations and is activated only when the vehicle is locked.


Nissan

Nissan Rear Seat Reminder

Nissan's Rear Door Alert shows a warning in the instrument cluster with a single-tone chime when the engine shuts off if the system has detected that a rear door was opened before the driver’s door was opened. The vehicle will honk the horn if rear doors aren't opened again before the vehicle is locked, or if the rear hatch is opened and closed. The driver can choose to limit the warning to just the visual warning or disable it altogether. This system comes disabled from the factory, so owners need to activate it. The door logic works reliably, but it doesn’t account for situations in which someone enters the vehicle through the driver’s door and turns on the car before placing children in a rear seat.

The RDA feature is standard on the Nissan Altima, Armada, LEAF, Murano, Maxima, Pathfinder, Rogue, Rogue Sport (2019.5) and four-door Titan, starting with the 2019 model year. It is available on the Versa for 2020. 

Nissan has announced that this system will be available on all its four-door trucks, sedans, and SUVs by 2022.


Select a brand from the pull-down menu below. 

Guide to Rear Seat Reminders by Brand

YearModelType of SystemTrim

Standard/Optional

Buick2019EnclaveDoor logicAllStd.
Buick2019EncoreDoor logicAllStd.
Buick2019EnvisionDoor logicAllStd.
Buick2019LaCrosseDoor logicAllStd.
Buick2019RegalDoor logicAllStd.
Buick2019Regal TourXDoor logicAllStd.
Buick2018EnclaveDoor logicAllStd.
Buick2018

LaCrosse

Door logicAllStd.
Buick2017

LaCrosse

Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2019CT6Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2019CTSDoor logicAllStd.
Cadillac2019EscaladeDoor logicAllStd.
Cadillac2019XT4Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2019XT5Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2019XTSDoor logicAllStd.
Cadillac2018ATS (sedan)Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2018CT6Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2018CTSDoor logicAllStd.
Cadillac2018CTS (V series)Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2018EscaladeDoor logicAllStd.
Cadillac2018XT5Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2017CT6 (2017i)Door logicAllStd.
Cadillac2017EscaladeDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019BlazerDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019BoltDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019ColoradoDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019CruzeDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019EquinoxDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019ImpalaDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019MalibuDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019Silverado 1500Door logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019Silverado 1500 LDDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019Silverado 2500HDDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019Silverado 3500HDDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019SonicDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019SparkDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019SuburbanDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019TahoeDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019TraverseDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019TraxDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2019VoltDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018Bolt EVDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018ColoradoDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018Cruze (hatch)Door logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018Cruze (sedan)Door logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018EquinoxDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018MalibuDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018Silverado (4dr)Door logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018SuburbanDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018TahoeDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2018TraverseDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2017Bolt EVDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2017ColoradoDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2017Cruze (hatch)Door logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2017Cruze (sedan)Door logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2017MalibuDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2017Silverado (4dr)Door logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2017SuburbanDoor logicAllStd.
Chevrolet2017TahoeDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2019AcadiaDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2019CanyonDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2019Sierra 1500Door logicAllStd.
GMC2019Sierra 1500 LimitedDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2019Sierra 2500HDDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2019Sierra 3500HDDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2019TerrainDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2019YukonDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2019Yukon XLDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2018AcadiaDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2018CanyonDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2018Sierra (4dr)Door logicAllStd.
GMC2018TerrainDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2018YukonDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2018Yukon XLDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2017AcadiaDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2017CanyonDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2017Sierra (4dr)Door logicAllStd.
GMC2017YukonDoor logicAllStd.
GMC2017Yukon XLDoor logicAllStd.
Hyundai2020PalisadeDoor logicAllStd.
Hyundai2020PalisadeMotion detection, door logicSEL, LimitedOpt.
Hyundai2020Santa FeDoor logicAllStd.
Hyundai2020Santa FeMotion detection, door logicSEL Plus, LimitedOpt.
Hyundai2019Santa FeDoor logicSEL Plus, LimitedStd.
Kia2020TellurideMotion detection, door logicAllStd.
Nissan2020KicksDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2020NV PassengerDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2020VersaDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019AltimaDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019ArmadaDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019LeafDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019MaximaDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019MuranoDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019PathfinderDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019RogueDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019Rogue SportDoor logicAllStd.
Nissan2019

Titan (4-dr.)

Door logicAllStd.
Nissan2019

Versa

Door logicAll

Opt.

Nissan2018PathfinderDoor logicAllStd.