Last week a bill that would help prevent kids dying from heat stroke in hot cars was introduced in Congress. Backed by several safety, health and consumer advocates, HOT CARS Act of 2017, H.R. 2801 is a bi-partisan proposal introduced by U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-13th OH), Peter King (R-2nd NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-9th IL). The bill was launched at the same time as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) kicked off The National Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention Campaign. More than 700 children died in hot cars over the last 18 years. Every summer distracted parents unintentionally leave their children unattended in their car. This situation occurs mostly when the children fall asleep in the back seat and parents temporarily forget about them.
The bill that was just introduced proposes to require car manufacturers to install an alert system to remind parents that a child may still be seated in the back. A similar bill stalled in committee last year. If this bill was passed it would still take several years for changes to be implemented.
Some manufacturers however have already started to offer to options to prevent them from leaving their child in the back seat. The company evenflo now has car seats equipped with sensors that will remind the driver that a child is in the car seat when the car engine is turned off (see video below). Many cases of children dying in hot cars have been reported after children entered a car and locked themselves in it. The new line of General Motors Acadia SUV is equipped with an alert that will go on if a back door is open before the vehicle is started.
Neither of the new technologies mentioned above would, however, protect children who are intentionally left by parents who think its safe to just leave the child sleeping in the back seat for a few minutes.
Picture source: FLICKR