Increased time at home causes dramatic shift in
circumstances surrounding hot car deaths
On average, 26% of hot car deaths are the result of children
getting into vehicles and becoming trapped inside. However, this year 55% of
hot car fatalities involve children who got into vehicles on their own.
The most recent tragedy happened on Monday in Booneville, AR
when a 3-year-old girl died and her 15-month-old sister was hospitalized after
getting into a vehicle outside their mother’s home.
As parents and caregivers juggle numerous priorities all at
the same time during these unprecedented times, supervision can be more
difficult than ever. Young children climb into unlocked cars and trunks to
play, but they can’t always get out. With fewer parents and caregivers
traveling to work, and fewer children attending childcare and preschool, it is
imperative that all drivers, even those without children, lock their vehicles
so children cannot gain access.
Safety tips to make sure children cannot get into a parked
vehicles locked at all times, especially at home and even if you don't have
children of your own. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
leave car keys within reach of children.
precautions to ensure toddlers cannot sneak out of the home using childproofing
door covers, door alarms, baby gates, etc.
children never to get into a vehicle without an adult, but if they do become
trapped to honk the horn, turn on the hazard lights and stay visible to
passersby if they become stuck inside a car.
child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards and trunk of all
vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they’re locked.
The Hot Cars Act (H.R. 3593) passed the full House on July
1, 2020 as part of the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2). This bill would require
available, affordable technology to detect the presence of a child inside a
vehicle. Safety standards are critical because they are enforceable and ensure
the effectiveness of the technology used by automakers. Parents rightfully
expect high-quality systems to help back up their memories and keep their
children out of harm’s way.
Last year, the auto industry issued a voluntary agreement to
add a reminder alert for drivers to check the back seat of vehicles by 2025.
However, this type of technology will NOT address fatalities where children got
into vehicles on their own and became trapped inside. A voluntary agreement is
fraught with problems, most notably the fact that it is not enforceable and
does not guarantee the effectiveness of the technology being used.
“It has come to our attention that many people believe that
the auto industry’s voluntary agreement is going to solve the problem of
children dying in hot cars. Nothing could be further from the truth” states
Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org. “We cannot put the
lives of children in the hands of an industry that has a history of not
following through with what they say they will do. We need a safety standard
requiring technology that can actually detect the presence of a child inside a
vehicle no matter how they got inside, like what is required in the Hot Cars
Act,” she continued.
The last two years were the worst years in history for child
hot car deaths with at least 107 children that died nationwide. Detection
technology is needed immediately to curtail this growing problem.
Fact sheets, safety tips, graphics, images, PSAs, etc. are
available on the KidsAndCars.org website to help raise awareness in your