New automaker technology could prevent hot car deaths

Hot car deaths
Hot car deaths 02:10

With the temperature hovering around 100 degrees, a family's trip to church Sunday turned deadly in Dallas, Texas.

A three-year-old was apparently forgotten, left inside the family's vehicle in the parking lot. He died.

So far this year, at least 23 children in 14 states have died after being left in hot cars. That's more than double this time last year.

Texas toddler dies after being found in hot c... 00:38

"If you don't think something like this can happen to you, you're wrong," said Reggie McKinnon.

His 17-month-old daughter Payton died after he forgot she was in the back seat. He'd taken her from a doctor's appointment and driven back to work. His office was just a block from her daycare.

"When I opened the back door to the vehicle, that's the moment that my life and my family's life changed forever. I found Payton, still in her car seat."

The interior of a car can heat up fast, adding two degrees a minute. Child heat stroke in cars can happen when the outdoor temperature is as low as 57 degrees.

Preventing hot car deaths 02:55

"When people get out of their morning routines, when they get preoccupied by something that's going on in their life, they may just have a different day than normal, they may forget that that child's in the backseat," said Deborah Hersman from the National Safety Council. "It's such a tragic death, it's very preventable."

But a first-of-its-kind alarm system General Motors is rolling out in the 2017 GMC Acadia could help. The feature, which alerts the driver at the end of any trip if the rear door was previously opened, will soon be standard in other models.

It's a reminder that could save a life.

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    Kris Van Cleave is the transportation correspondent for CBS News based in Washington, D.C.