MIAMI, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- As hot car deaths become more common around the United States, new smartphone apps hope to curb the incidents by reminding parents to check their cars.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 716 children have died in hot cars since 1998. In over half of those incidents, death occurred not because the parent misjudged the heat or length of time they'd be away from the car -- but simply because the child was forgotten. Now a group of smartphone apps has emerged to remind parents to double check for their children.
For $.99, Precious Cargo sends a visual alert to parents who have recently driven somewhere with a baby, reminding them upon arrival that they are traveling with their child. If a car is Bluetooth enabled, Precious Cargo can sync with the vehicle, notifying users shortly after their engine turns off to check on their kids, although the majority of reviews on the iTunes app store said this function was too difficult to activate and in some cases outright did not work.
In a South Florida, an app called SafeKids Alert debuted at Thursday's National Heatstroke Prevention Day festivities in Miami. SafeKids Alert works similar to Precious Cargo, setting off an alarm if the parent hasn't registered the child's safety with the app after their car has been idle for ten minutes.
"[Automakers] are reminding us of everything else," Janette Fennel, president of KidsandCars.org, told WFSB.
"Quite frankly, you can't buy a car today unless it has a feature that turns your headlights off for you, so who has decided it's more important not to have a dead car battery than a dead baby?"