July 23, 2014 at 5:10 PM ET
A new app seeks to remind parental drivers of two critical facts: They have a child in the vehicle and it’s hot outside. The “Precious Cargo” app was co-designed by Shaun Johnston, a North Carolina father of a 1-year-old daughter who said it’s easy for parents with “a lot on your mind, a lot on your to-do list,” to forget they have a small child in the back seat. When a parent enters a car and Bluetooth is activated, the app sends a phone message asking: “Will you be traveling with Precious Cargo?” If yes, the child’s name is added. If no, the app is deactivated until the car restarts. With a “yes” response, after the car engine stops, the app sends an alert -- there is “precious cargo” on board, makers say. Recent hot-car cases include a Georgia father facing murder charges after leaving his 22-month-old son in a fatally hot car. More than 36 children die in overheated cars every year in the United States, research shows.