SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – With hot temperatures on Friday, the organization Kids and Cars took the opportunity to talk about the tragic deaths of children in hot cars. “Last year was absolutely the worst year we’ve ever experienced for hot car deaths,” says Janette Fennell with Kids and Cars. “There were 53 children who lost their lives in hot cars and this year so far we’re at 30 deaths.
“Unfortunately, the biggest mistake that parents can make is to think that this isn’t going to happen to them or their family,” said Fennell. “And if you feel that way, which is a very bad assumption, you won’t put some safety tips in place to try to protect you against such a horrific situation,”
Fennell says busy parents can be overwhelmed and that rear-facing infant seats (where a child is out of view from a parent’s eye even in the rearview mirror) are adding to the problem of children being left in cars.
The organization is pushing for the Hot Car Bill which would require all new vehicles to have a warning system if someone is left in the back seat. “You can buy a car today with every kind of alert imaginable, we should be able to get this technology,” says Fennell.
She says the Hot Car Act of 2019 has support in Congress but “needs to be passed as soon as possible.”
“When you think about the fact you can’t buy a car today that either doesn’t automatically turn your lights off for you or remind you to turn off your headlights, it seems inconceivable that we can’t have the technology to protect someone left in the back seat,” says Fennell.
Dr. John Rowlett, the director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at St. Joseph’s Candler agrees technology may do some good. “Cars heat up even when it’s not very hot,” Dr. Rowlett told me. “Hot car deaths are preventable with technology,”
Rowlett says a change in routine can often lead a parent to make a tragic mistake and leaving their child in the back seat. “This happens because somebody gets distracted about something changes their routine. No parent would willingly leave their child in a car,” he said.
Kids and Cars says the technology is already in some vehicles and should not increase the price of a car. Dr. Rowlett told us he can’t “imagine any (lawmaker) that would oppose technology that could end this problem.”
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