Texas leads the country in a troubling statistic - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Texas leads the country in a troubling statistic

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

Twenty-one children have died after being left in or getting in to an unlocked hot or cold car this year.

Five of those children have died in Texas and that's more than any other state.

Leaving a child in a car in Texas can result in jail time. Only 20 states across the country have unattended child laws. 

"Certainly if a child were to die inside a car, the person who was responsible for leaving that child in the car could be brought up on criminal charges," said Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton. "People don’t realize that they can be charged. The unfortunate reality is that they may be charged criminally if they endanger a child like that or worse, kill a child."

Swanton said those charges could range from endangering a child to manslaughter.

He said the best way to avoid a tragic death and jail time is by leaving clues for yourself.

"We always caution people. Set a reminder, set a child’s shoe on the seat next to you, do something so that you remember you have the kid in the car," Swanton said. 

Fadi Shamma is the CEO and co-founder of Sense A Life. His Tampa-based start-up company thinks they’ve found the solution to this problem.

"People have been trying to solve this problem over the last 10-12 years. Even NASA, back in 2002 took a crack at it," Shamma said. "We want to catch the driver immediately. we don’t want to wait until the’re down the street, or they’re in the store."

Shamma and his partner created the Sense A Life device to help combat forgetting children in a car. The device works using sensors, and can recognize if both the drive and child are present in a car -- and will alert the driver several times if the child is not taken out of the car. 

The driver will first receive a loud message if they exit the car without the kid. An application for smart phones also works with the device so that a child's caregiver receives alerts to their phone. 

"We wanted something that’s going o be simple, easy to use, and also effective 1000%," Shamma said. "It’s just peace of mind for the parent or care giver, for grandma or the babysitter who may have a slip of the mind."

Shamma hopes to sell Sense A Life for around $100. His ultimate goal is to have the device available in all cars and car seats for free. 

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