TEL AVIV – Israeli-made GPS app Waze has added a feature reminding parents to make sure they haven’t accidentally left their children in the backseat before exiting the car.
Since 2008, 448 children were accidentally left in cars, with 22 of those cases ending in death. Over the last two months alone, five toddlers died in Israel after being left in hot cars.
In the U.S., 37 children die every year and, since 1990, more than 775 children have died as a result of being left in vehicles.
Temperatures in cars with the air conditioning switched off can soar to 54 degrees (130 °F) in under an hour on hot days. Four children died over the July 22-24 weekend this year in the states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Texas.
Waze’s newest feature, currently in beta, notifies users when they arrive at their destination. It can be disabled and enabled and used with a customized message. According to Israeli technology news site No Camels, Waze has said that they are currently receiving user feedback before the feature becomes a standard part of the app.
A new video on the subject (see above) featuring Israeli entertainers and politicians has gone viral over the past week. Participants were asked to sit in a car with the air conditioning switched off in 37 degree (98.6 °F) heat.
When the subject could no longer bear the heat, he had the option to press a red buzzer and was allowed to exit the searing hot vehicle. Some of the participants ended up in tears over the thought of the suffering that children who are left in cars endure.