Waze Navigation App Adds Child Reminder Feature to Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths

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(Via Twitter/Waze)

Every year far too many children die after being forgotten in the backs of cars, and for the most part these deaths are tragic accidents. Now the Waze GPS, navigation, and traffic app has added an opt-in feature where it will send a little beep that says, “Child Reminder: Don’t forget to check your car before you leave.”

It’s a simple, silly little thing, and it could really save lives.

According to ABC News, there are approximately 37 deaths in the U.S. every year due to children being forgotten in parked cars. Hot car deaths are tragic, and they’re terrifying because they really could happen to any of us. You don’t have to be a bad person or a bad parent to forget a baby in the back of a car. You just have to be in possession of a human brain, because brains are pretty cool, but also fallible.

Our brains often run on autopilot for routine tasks like driving to and from work, getting in and out of the car, etc. Couple that with the fact that children often fall asleep in their car seats, and it’s tragically easy for a busy parent to forget they are supposed to be dropping the baby off at daycare today and just drive right to work as usual, and go about their day, having completely forgotten the child in the back of a deathly hot automobile.

“We’re constantly listening to our users’ requests and concerns, as well as paying attention to the news and looking into issues drivers face,” said Waze’s Head of Brand, Julie Mossler, in an interview with ABC News. “Just as drivers sometimes forget to turn off their headlights, they sometimes forget things in the car too. This new feature helps keep people present in the vehicle and gives them a important, possibly life-saving reminder, that drivers sometimes need.”

The alert is an opt-in feature that people can tell the app to send them. When activated, it will send the notification when the person arrives at a destination, and it can be customized to include a child’s name or a pet’s name or whatever else will grab the person’s attention.