Approximately 40 children die each year from heat stroke after being left in cars by distracted, absentminded or careless parents. And that is in the U.S. alone. A minor update to Apple's smartphone operating system could help to prevent these accidents from happening in the future.
iPhone users have long been able to set reminders based on particular locations. For example, you can tell your iPhone: 'Open a bottle of wine when I get home,' and if you've previously told your iPhone where you live it will use the 'geofence' around your house to know when you get in and prompt you with the reminder. Apple spent just a few seconds at its latest event showing off geofences for your car.
If you have CarPlay (Apple's solution for safely using an iPhone in the vehicle) your car will now be recognized as a location and you'll be able to set reminders based on entering or exiting your vehicle.
From here the solution is simple: Set a reminder such as "Siri, remind me every day when I get out of the car: check for kids!" And a reminder will appear as you walk away from the car, replacing possible catastrophe with slight embarrassment. Do I want to admit to myself that it's possible to forget my kids in the car? Probably, not. But is it possible? The facts are indisputable: yes, it is. And I would rather admit it and take practical steps to prevent it, than deny it and avoid those steps.
Several companies including Intel, BabyAlert and others are developing innovative preventive measures such as microchips and sensors installed inside car seats to reduce these accidental deaths.
Smartphone reminders may not replace these entirely, and nothing can negate the need for attentive and careful parenting, but a simple reminder to make sure you've left no one behind could be one piece in saving a child's life.