MIAMI (CBSMiami) - It's a headline that strikes fear in the heart of any parent. A child left in a hot car can be dangerous, even deadly.
The inside of a car can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. CBS4 Morning Anchor, Rhiannon Ally spoke with a South Florida man and his step-son who have designed a car seat which has an alarm that they say can save lives.
Lindsey Seitz 15-month old son, Benjamin, died after accidentally being left in the backseat of her husband Kyle's car. Kyle was supposed to drop the little boy at daycare, but forgot and drove straight to work instead.
In 2012, 44 children died after being left unattended in a hot vehicle; 21 have died so far this year.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue recently showed CBS4 a simulation in which a child's body temperature rises up to 5 times faster than an adult.
"The body shuts down, literally, you'll probably start to damage cells irreversibly," said Dr. Jerry Brooks from Broward Health North.
Jonathan Machado's step-father, Dennis Aneiros, created the prototype for the Aneiros Child Car Seat Safety System. CBS4 installed it in one of our news trucks to test it out.
"The Aneiros child car seat safety system that detects when a parent leaves a child. If it detects the child is still in the car, it will alert the parent via an alarm system. It can even activate the air conditioning system to cool down child to prevent over-heating," said Machado.
They have a patent on the prototype and have contacted car companies, but there is still work to be done before they can move forward to get it into stores.
"The main challenge we have is getting funding in order to start the manufacturing process," Machado said.
Another high tech gadget, Tomy, makes a smart car seat that sends an alert to parents' phones if a child is left in a car that is not in motion. There are also several apps out. The Kids Safe Alert and Precious Cargo are two that can send alerts to your phone.
Experts say there needs be a broader approach.
Sue Auriemma works with www.kidsandcars.org . The advocacy group wants the federal government to fund new research on technology which can detect when a child is left alone.
"Truly the way to solve the problem is to address it in all vehicles, which is why we're looking to the government to address the issue fleet wide," Auriemma said.
Until then, experts stress common sense solutions. Keep your purse or cell phone in the back seat. Keep a toy in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder. Also, ask your daycare provider to call you if your child doesn't show up.
That could have potentially saved Benjamin Seites.
"You never think it could happen to you and then you wake up one day and have a normal day and then in the afternoon you find out that your son is gone. This could happen to anyone," said Lindsey Seites.
Jonathan Machado and his stepfather have launched a crowd funding campaign. To learn more go to aneirosllc.com/contribute.
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