Waze app child reminder feature will remind parents to check the backseat for kids
We’ve all seen the horrific headlines each summer. So often the stories are the same, a parent who’s just trying to get through a busy day and instead accidentally experiences every parent’s worst nightmare. A million things on the to-do list, an awful oversight, and the baby gets left in the car. In the past 20 years, over 700 children have died in hot cars. In 2016 alone there have been 26 child hot car deaths in the U.S.
When these tragedies happen, there is never a shortage of accusations flung from the perfect parents of the internet, who insist anyone who could forget a child in a car is unfit for parenting. But the fact is, accidents happen. Fifty-four percent of hot car deaths are from children accidentally being forgotten in the car. Twenty-nine percent are from children who managed to get into an unattended vehicle. No matter the cause, it’s a terrible tragedy — and anything we can do to stop it should be embraced.
The GPS navigation app Waze is trying to prevent these tragic statistics from growing. The app recently launched a beta feature called “child reminder”. This setting will send you a reminder when you arrive at your destination to make sure you check the backseat so you don’t leave a child in the car.
If you’re not familiar with Waze, it’s a navigational app. It’s what the cool parents use instead of Google Maps or Mapquest. Waze is popular because it pulls up real time traffic conditions and will automatically adjust your route to get you to your destination faster without you having to touch your phone to confirm the route change. Plus, if you’re meeting friends, once you leave your house the app will keep everyone updated on everyone else’s ETA, so you’re not texting, “On the way!” while driving (which is safer, but terrible if you’re like me who likes to blame traffic when she’s running late).
The new child reminder feature is only in beta testing, so it’s not available everywhere just yet. But you’ll be able to customize the notification, meaning you can set it to remind you to check the backseat for baby, or for anything else you need to remember to do once you arrive at your destination, like swap out your comfy flip flops for those office shoes.
— waze (@waze) August 6, 2016
There are other effective methods parents use to remind them to check the backseat before getting out the car, like leaving your purse or left shoe there. But if you’re going to use your GPS anyway, the Waze child reminder feature is another layer of defense. You would think anything which could possibly save the life of a child would be heralded as a good thing by everyone, but some were quick to shame and attack the theoretical parent that would dare to use this feature and call us out as monsters. This is why we can’t have nice things.
“If you need a reminder your child is in the car. You don’t deserve your child (ren)”.
“How sad that we are to this point in society where an app is a means to keep track of NOT killing your child? I’d hate to think of the upgraded version…”Time to feed child number 1 @ 2:00 alarm set.”
“Anyone who downloads this app should immediately have their children taken away”
“If you can remember your cell phone every time you get out of a car, but you can’t remember your CHILD… Your priorities are f’d up.”
Parents aren’t perfect. Sometimes our morning routine changes, and we have the baby when we usually don’t or we get distracted or preoccupied — the bottom line is that the vast majority of hot car deaths are tragic, awful mistakes that really, truly could happen to anyone. It’s so easy to say, “I would never forget,” until the one day you do. Accidents happen and they can happen to anyone. The death of a child, regardless of how it happens, is an awful thing. And criticizing parents for being human isn’t going to prevent accidents from happening.
Kudos to Waze for trying to help.