App could help prevent child deaths in hot cars

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In this extreme heat, a big concern for families is keeping their children safe. Nevada ranks 8th in the nation for the number of children who have died from heatstroke after being left inside hot cars.

According to data from NoHeatstroke.org,13 children in Nevada have died between 1998 and 2017. But a new app on your smartphone is trying to change that.

The app is called The Backseat.

All you have to do is download it, put in your car information and some contact information. Then once you get on the road with your kids, it’ll alert you to check your backseat.

Mary Rendina spends a lot of time with her 2-year-old granddaughter Nova, but she also has a busy schedule.

“Juggling a lot, work, babies,” she said.

With extreme temperatures now hitting the valley, she is always concerned for Nova, especially in the car. 

“I check all the time in the back, did I get her, did I not get her?” Redina said.

If left in a hot car, a child can die of heatstroke in just a matter of minutes. That’s why Mary downloaded The Backseat app.

Here’s how it works.

Once you start driving more than 20 miles per hour, it’ll wake up and know you’re on the road. A few minutes after your trip ends, it’ll alert you to check your car for any passengers. If you don’t acknowledge that first alert within six or so minutes, it’ll start sending you constant reminders.

“You can never be too cautious,” Rendina said.

“If human beings can strap themselves to a big gigantic rocket and ride it all the way to the moon, then we can certainly figure out how to stop this problem,” said Erin O’Connor, a Phoenix father, who was tired of hearing of children dying in hot cars. A year ago, he began creating The Backseat app.

He says, hot car deaths are entirely preventable. Studies show a simple routine change can make someone forgetful and it can happen to anyone.

“It’s an epic problem that is going to continue on it’s forward trajectory until something is done,” O’Connon said.

The Backseat app also includes a very unique safeguard.

“The Backseat will actually send three text messages to three different people every 90 seconds with the GPS location of where the user’s car stopped,” O’Connor said.

And for Mary and Nova:…

“The fact that mom, or grandpa, or auntie or dad is going to be notified, it really makes a big difference for me,” Rendina said.

The Backseat is completely free. You can download it from the Apple or Android store. It only takes a few minutes to plug in your information.

O’Connor says they’re constantly working on the app and they’ll be launching a new version soon which will include a Spanish language option.
 

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