US: Navigation app Waze has added a new safety feature that will remind its users of their child, pet or other loved ones before sitting in the cars, if they forget them while getting out. The feature, called “Child reminder,” was made available to the public on Thursday, when Waze released its latest update on app stores for Android and iOS.
The app can be useful for people who often forget their loved ones back home before getting out. The new feature comes amid concerns over recent child hot car deaths. On the same day it was publicly released, a pair of 15-month-old twins died in Georgia after allegedly being left in a hot car by their father, according to police.
Since 1998, there have been 37 child heatstroke fatalities on average per year in the U.S., according to the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University in California. There have already been 26 heatstroke deaths involving children in the U.S. since the beginning of the year, according to the department’s website.
“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.
“Just as drivers sometimes forget to turn off their headlights, they sometimes forget things in the car too,” Mossler told ABC News today. “This new feature helps keep people present in the vehicle and gives them a important, possibly life-saving reminder, that drivers sometimes need.”
Like Waze’s other safety features, “Child reminder” is opt-in, Mossler said. The alert can be turned on and off in the app’s “general settings.”
Drivers who choose to keep the feature on can also customize the alert “to include their child’s name or pet’s name — anything that will get their attention at the end of a drive,” Mossler explained. She added that the alert will only appear if a driver has entered a destination in Waze and has arrived at that destination.