(WJBK) - During the last few months heatstroke deaths involving children left unattended in cars have spiked.
This year alone 24 children have died after being left unattended in hot cars - nearly twice the number of cases over this time last year. Heat stroke can happen in a matter of minutes when a child is left unattended in a vehicle and is the leading cause of all non-crash related deaths involving children 14 and younger.
To help combat this epidemic, General Motors announced a new technology that can help prevent hot car deaths.
The technology is a Rear Seat Reminder feature in the 2017 GMC Acadia. It works by notifying the driver that the rear door was opened prior to a trip at the end of a journey, prompting the driver to simply look in the backseat.
"We just felt we needed to do something - something - to try and prevent these tragedies," says Tricia Morrow, a GMC Safety Expert.
Just recently in Georgia, 15-month-old twin girls were left in a hot car. Both died and their father has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of reckless conduct.
"It's tragic. All of these stories are tragic, and it can happen to anyone," Morrow says.
HOW IT WORKS
It doesn't detect anything in the backseat through weight sensors or anything, Morrow explains. Instead, it monitors if you've used your rear doors just before or while your vehicle is on.
"So, if you're loading your laptop, your lunch, valuables, pets, children - we know that you've used your rear doors and that activates the system," Morrow says.
When you're done driving, you'll hear five chimes and see a message on your driver information center alerting you to look in the rear seat.
The Rear Seat Reminder feature will be standard in all of the 2017 Acadias, and are coming to other vehicles models within the GM family.