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Arizona dad develops app to prevent hot car deaths

An Arizona father has developed a tool for parents to help prevent hot car tragedies.

The 911 calls are difficult to listen to: fathers, mothers, even grandparents screaming and yelling about the little child they accidently left in the car for several hours.

“My brother’s baby is not breathing,” said one caller “Oh my god, oh my god, no.”

The most recent incident took place in Nashville on Wednesday. A father accidently left his 1-year-old girl in her car seat for more than 10 hours in the blazing sun. Matt Baker dropped one of his kids off at daycare before returning home and then flying out of town for work.

Later that evening, his wife went to pick the kids up, but was told Katera Baker was never dropped off. Jenny Baker then called 911 when she realized what happened.

If you are saying, “That could never happen to me,” just know that’s exactly what every parent who buried their child thought.

On average, 37 kids die every year from car-related heat stroke. There have been more than 1,400 deaths since 1989.

“It has to stop. It has to stop now,” said father Erin O’Connor.

Raising two kids in Arizona, O’Connor is very aware of how fast a car can heat up if left outside during an Arizona summer. He can also quickly rattle of the statistics when it comes to children killed by accidently being left in a car.

Arizona ranks fourth in nation when it comes to child deaths, only behind Texas, California and Florida.

“It bothered me so deeply I had to do something,” said O’Connor.

Using his own money, O’Connor decided to design an app that would hopefully prevent another death.

“If it saves one baby, one baby’s life it will be worth it,” he said.

It has taken him and his tech team more than eight months to design, test and fine-tune what he believes will save lives.

The app is called The Backseat and can be downloaded right now at the app store. The app only takes about 15 minutes to set up and costs nothing.

“I did not want to be a barricade between someone saying yes (buying it) and not using it,” said O’Connor.

The Backseat senses when a person is in a vehicle going more than 20 mph. At that point, the app sends out an audible alert, letting you know it is working. If you don’t tap a couple icons, it will assume a child is in the car. Once the vehicle stops, it will alert the person within three minutes with an audible text alert.

“At first, it is a nice reminder that you may have forgotten your child in the car,” said O’Connor.

Within six minutes the app will send a stream of text messages and emails to your phone until you turn it off. Eventually the phone will start blaring, and the flashlight will go on and off.

“At a certain point, we need to give up on the user and seek outside help,” said O’Connor.

If the user has still not shut the app off, it will assume kids may have been left in a vehicle and will alert a designated alert team. Every user can assign three people to receive text and email alerts in an emergency.

The app will even override the volume if you have the phone set to vibrate.

“If you have young kids, you need to get this,” said O’Connor.

If the alert team is notified, it will also send out the GPS location and the license plate to the vehicle or vehicles you designated.

If you would like more information you can go to the app store or: www.theBackSeat.net

So far this year, seven kids have died, and we are not yet to the most dangerous months. Last year, 44 children died in a hot vehicle. The year before it was 60.

O’Connor said he can’t promise you that using the app will save your child if you happen to forget them, but it is another barrier so you won’t have to call 911 several hours after it’s too late.