Aug 27, 2013 1:00 AM
TUCSON - So far this year at least 29 children have died in the United States after being left in a hot car. The average is 36 annually and advocates say the numbers are probably higher. Arizona has the 4th highest rate of heat stroke related fatalities involving children and vehicles.
A Tucson mom and grandma contacted News 4 Tucson after they came up with an idea to save lives; a simple device called Car Seat Reminders
Karen Franco is a grandmother of three. She's heard in the news about little ones left to die in hot cars. She was driving one day when the thought came to her mind.
"My little granddaughter was in the back, and she was just being good. I was heading somewhere and all of sudden she made a noise, like a little sigh, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! She's back there!' I forgot, for a second, she was back there because I normally don't have them, my daughter does."
So Karen went to her daughter Chrystal. They wanted to do something to help distracted parents.
Chrystal thought about it for a couple days.
"She called me one day and she said, 'Mom? What about a slap bracelet?'"
They're easy to use and cheap. The Car Seat Reminder is a bright orange bracelet that quickly slaps on your wrist. Chrystal shows us how it works.
"So I'm getting ready to put my baby in the vehicle. As you can see, Car Seat Reminder is still on her strap. Once you put your baby into the base and you click her in, or use the seat belt to fasten the car seat in, only at this point will you remove the car seat reminder and put it on your wrist."
The bracelet stays on your wrist until your next stop and the child is removed from the car.
"And even shut the door. At this point, I would remove it from my wrist and put it back onto to the main fastening strap on her [car seat]," Chrystal explains.
Kids could die even when it's not very hot outside. It has happened before.
"In 10 minutes the temperature of a car can climb 20 degrees. So if it's 60 degrees outside, in 10 minutes it's 80 degrees. In another 10 minutes, it's 100."
Karin and Chrystal want everyone to hear this message.
"If you think it can't happen to you, that's when it's dangerous," says Karen.
"The majority of the cases have happened to the most responsible parents who had just a little glitch in their routine."
They also hope it will prevent accidental backovers in driveways and parking lots.