Kars4Kids app lets parents know they forgot kid in car
There have been many stories in the news about young children dying in hot cars because their parents forgot they were in the back seat. Earlier this month, a Lakewood girl who was not yet 2 years old was accidentally left in a hot car. By the time a neighbor saw the child inside, it was too late.
New Jersey-based nonprofit Kars4Kids created an app that connects to the bluetooth in a person's car, which sets off an alarm reminding parents that their babies are in the backseat.
Kars4Kids spokeswoman Wendy Kirwan said it takes only 10 to 20 minutes for temperatures to soar in a locked car.
The app sets up an automatic alert when a parent turns off the car, reminding mom or dad there's a kid in the back seat. The app has three settings. It can always be on, meaning a person can set up that app so the alarm pings every time he or she gets out of the car. The second setting is a notification-only setting. That means every time the car connects to the bluetooth, a parent will get a notification asking if he or she wants to activate the app. There's also a cool setting where a parent can put in a time frame, meaning he or she can set it up so the app is activated during certain hours.
Kirwan said the app was released in 2014 and it's been updated since. The app is only available on Android. But Kirwan said she hopes the app will be obsolete in the next couple of years as automakers continue to respond. She said automakers have the ability to build this technology right into the car which would be way more effective because apps, no matter how good they are, can fail.
The GMC Acadia and Terrain both have alarms and show an alert on the dashboard that reads "Look in the rear seat" to remind parents a child may be there.
According to NoHeatStroke.org, 801 children have died of heat stroke after being left inside cars since 1998. In 2018, 52 people died. In New Jersey, 12 children have died from heatstroke in cars during this time frame. Seven of them were under the age of 14.
Kirwan suggests parents get into the habit of leaving something very personal in the back seat such as a purse or a wallet. That way, a parent is forced to check the back seat every time he or she exits the car.
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