Local mom creates app to prevent hot car deaths

BABY OK to help busy parents, creator says

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – More than three dozen children die a year in the United States from being left in hot cars.

Already this year five children have died and it’s not summer yet.

A Central Florida mother is looking to change those statistics.

Eryn Vargo created a smart phone app that she hopes will save lives.

After she witnessed a near tragedy in 2014, she decided she had to do something to get results.

Another mother had taken her son to a doctor's appointment, and accidentally left her two-month-old daughter in the van for nearly an hour.

The baby was OK, but Vargo witnessed it and said the event changed her forever.

"I came home, sobbed and said to my husband ‘we need to do something,’" she said.

After brainstorming with her husband, the mother of four, including an 11-week-old, decided three years ago to create an app.

[Learn about the Baby OK app here.]

"The idea really came because nobody really goes anywhere without their phone," she said.

The app is called “Baby OK” and can be customized with a picture of the user’s child.  When the driver gets in their vehicle, the app automatically connects to Bluetooth and asks if their child is with you. 

 If the user hits “Yes” it continues.

 When the driver makes it to their destination or stops the car, they get an alert saying asking if they are out of the car and asking if their child is with them. 

"Within 30 to 60 seconds, you'll get a second notification, if you don't reply, same thing," Vargo said.

 After three notifications, if the driver don't confirm they have the baby, the app sends a message to their emergency contacts with a message saying the baby is in the car.

Eryn has her husband Stephen as her emergency contact.

"At that point he can contact me,” Vargo said. "If he can't get a hold of me he would assume something has happened and contact the authorities."

The app is meant to be an accountability partner, another tool to help busy parents, according to Vargo

"It takes a village, so I think if the community banded together we could start solving this problem," she said.

Right now the app is a prototype.  Vargo is trying to raise money to offer it free in app stores and looking for corporate sponsors.

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