Mobile App Serves to Remind Parents Not to Forget Children, Pets in Cars

Mobile App Serves to Remind Parents Not to Forget Children, Pets in Cars

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

38. That's the number of children who die from dehydration each year after being forgotten in a hot car.

As strange as it sounds, there's an app that can help parents remember they're carrying "precious cargo".

In 2014, four children in Texas died from dehydration after they were found unattended in a hot car.

"It can affect them up to five times faster just because they're little bodies, than what an adult would be affected inside a hot car," said Sgt. Craig Matthews of the Midland Police Department.

In most cases, the child was simply forgotten.

"You're busy with the thoughts in reference to what do you have to do for the day and that whole process is just overwhelming," said Matthews.

Many times, the children are found in the morning or afternoon - not even the hottest time of day.

Monday around 4 o'clock, it was 93 degrees outside in Midland. We checked the temperature on the dashboard of our car, and it read 146 degrees.

Sure, hotter temperatures are on the way, but last year one 4-year-old from North Richland Hills, Texas died after she climbed into a car unattended. It was just 84 degrees then.

The app Precious Cargo serves to remind parents of two things: They have a child in the vehicle, and it's hot outside.

"In my personal opinion, I don't need an app to remind me that I have kids," said one Odessa mother who wished to remain anonymous.

When using the app, as parent enters the car, Bluetooth is activated. The app sends a message asking, "Will you be traveling with precious cargo?" If yes, the child's name is added. It will then send you an alert when the engine stops, reminding you there is a child or pet on board. If no, the app deactivates until the car is restarted.

"If you take it, you should bring it. If you bring it, you should take it. That's the way you should look at it with your kids and your dogs," said Odessa resident Marcus Harper.

"Even if I'm just gonna go and put some gas, in and out, it doesn't matter if its five minutes or one minute, I take them with me no matter what," said the Odessa mother.

If you see a child or pet left in a hot car, take action immediately. Call 9-1-1.