Fifteen minutes is about the time it takes for most of us to run a quick errand. But it's also how long it takes the inside of your parked car to climb to 109 degrees hot in the summer months -- and that's with the windows cracked open a couple of inches. Sitting inside such sweltering conditions, of course, delivers a punishing blow to the body, especially so for babies. Think brain and organ damage, heat stroke or even death, a nightmarish scenario we've seen play out too many times this summer. (Scary fact: 36 children die in overheated cars in the United States every year. Read this eye-opening Parents magazine piece about hot car dangers.)
But two new apps are hoping to put an end to this very preventable problem -- and offer overwhelmed, distracted, exhausted, busy parents a helping hand. The first, "Precious Cargo," was designed by a North Carolina dad of a one-year-old and is simple yet effective, reports Today: When you sit down in the car and Bluetooth is activated, you'll receive a message from the app asking if you're traveling with precious cargo (i.e. your baby). If you are, you enter the child's name, and once the engine stops, you'll receive an alert to remind you there's "precious cargo" in the car. If you're driving sans baby, the app is deactivated until the next time the car starts up.
The second, Kars4Kids Safety, is also a piece of cake to use. An customizable alarm goes off whenever you and your phone exit the car to remind you to retrieve your baby from the carseat. The app, created by the nonprofit Kars4Kids, just requires a Bluetooth-enabled phone and car.
Personally, there are just a few apps that can actually help make my life easier. These are among them. Besides the fact that they're insanely user-friendly, they also reach us in a most reliable place -- our cell phones -- which most of us won't even walk down the hall of our home without carrying. And they're affordable to boot -- Precious Cargo is 99 cents, while Kars4Kids is free. But the peace of mind these handy apps can offer us wiped-out, on-the-go parents? Invaluable.
Tell us: Would you use an app to help you remember to take baby out of a parked car?
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Image of baby in carseat courtesy of Shutterstock