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New Technology Aims To Stop Growing Number Of Hot Car Deaths

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Left to die. Hundreds of children have been forgotten in hot cars across the country, including here in Maryland. Now new technology aims to stop the growing problem.

Rick Ritter has more on the fight to stop these senseless deaths.

Hundreds of kids have died over the years. Officials say it's sad some parents even have to use this app, but it's one way to help prevent tragedy from striking again.

It's become a common theme--children left behind in sweltering cars--accidentally, or sometimes, even willingly.

"It's absolutely horrifying," said Valerie Hardy, Owings Mills.

"We as first responders don't want to respond to a scene like this," said Lt. T.J. Smith, Anne Arundel County Police.

Just weeks ago, police say a Rockville mother left her seven-year-old son and puppy in a scorching car. On July 3, New York police arrested a Dundalk father for leaving his two-year-old daughter in a hot truck.

Police say they have their own share of incidents.

"It amazes me that we see this constantly throughout the nation," said Lt. Smith.

Like Benjamin Seitz. On July 7, his father forgot to drop him off at daycare in Connecticut and instead drove to work, leaving the 15-month-old in the backseat.

"You wake up and have a normal day and then you find out in the afternoon that your son's gone," said Lindsey Rogers Seitz, mother.

Now there's new technology like the apps "Kars4kids" and "Precious Cargo" that remind parents their kids are in the backseat. The apps can pair with Bluetooth and send out an alert when the car stops.

Since 1991, nearly 720 children died in hot car deaths. Officials say 19 kids already died of heatstroke this year after their parents or caregivers left them in cars.

"That's a tragic stat. Nineteen children is nineteen too many," Lt. Smith said.

Some say these apps shouldn't even be necessary.

"Why do we need smartphones to tell us our child is in the car?" said Hardy.

But with the cases becoming more common, every bit helps.

"There's not room for a mistake like that because that's a mistake you might live with for the rest of your life," Lt. Smith said.

The apps carry a warning, telling parents it's not something they should rely on.

Police say whether you purchase the app or not, always perform a visual check for your children and pets.

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