Drivers Leave no Child or Pet Behind

Aug 15, 2018 | Industry News

Nissan is standardizing a new alert system to remind their drivers to check the backseats for children and animals. A message will show on the dashboard and the car horn will sound if the car detects something in the backseat.


‘Tis the season … for sweltering, hot days. During the summertime, it’s easy to want to get on with whatever you’re doing, just so you can limit your exposure to the hot, sweaty temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. At the same time, it’s just as easy to forget about things you might’ve left in your car when you’re craving a nice and comfortable air-conditioned space. And that’s why Nissan will standardize Rear Door Alert (RDA) on all of its four-door models, a warning system that reminds drivers to check the backseat after the vehicle is parked. We saw the system debut initially on the latest Nissan Pathfinder just last year.

Beginning with the 2019 model year, Nissan will equip all of its four-door models with Rear Door Alert, starting with the company’s best-selling models: the Rogue and the Altima. By 2022, Nissan plans to have RDA standard on all of its four-door trucks, sedans, and SUVs.

Summertime isn’t just a peak time for the beach and barbecues. It’s also a peak time for fatalities from people unintentionally leaving children, infants, and pets in the car. To try and curtail this issue, Nissan’s solution is Rear Door Alert.

It simply alerts the driver via a message on the gauge cluster’s center instrument display and a quick honk of the horn to double-check the rear seats. It’s the first system of its kind that utilizes an array of sensors for the doors, detecting whether or not the rear doors were accessed on a recent trip, but not re-opened after said trip. Then, once the car is put into park and the ignition switched off, it sounds the car’s horn to tell the driver that they might have left something important in the back seat.

“I’m proud to see Nissan lead the way by making Rear Door Alert standard on more models,” said Marlene Mendoza, an engineer who worked with Nissan on the new feature. “What started as a chat with my colleague, Elsa Foley, is now innovative technology being adopted in more Nissan models. It is a testament to Nissan’s culture.”

“The idea was inspired when I accidentally left a pan of lasagna in the back seat of my car overnight,” Mendoza added. “The worst thing was the car smelled for days, but it made me ask myself, ‘What if I left something far more important back there?'”

During the summer, a vehicle’s interior in 80-degree Fahrenheit ambient weather can heat up rapidly to more than 123 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes. Such a climb essentially makes the insides of your car into a low-intensity baking oven. And that’s no good if the objects accidentally left inside are living beings.

More than 36 children die every year from being left in a hot car, and the number is comparable for pets left in vehicles.

With Rear Door Alert, Nissan hopes to that no child or pet gets left behind in a hot car.