Gov’t to Parents: Stop Leaving Kids in Hot Cars


Most parents know the importance of buckling up their kids when driving, but the government may soon step in to remind parents of how important it is to unbuckle their kids as well, particularly in the hot weather.

More than 450 children have died since 1998 because they were left by their parents or caretakers in a hot car. So far this year, 41 children have died, the highest amount in a single year on record.

Now, USA Today reports that several advocacy groups are petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require automakers to install an alert system that might help stop this from happening.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering a petition to include safety belt reminder chimes for all seating positions,” the paper reports.

If approved, these chimes would essentially function the same way that existing seatbelt alerts do, where they go off incessantly until you buckle up. Except with this version, an alert would also go off at the end of a car ride to notify you that someone – presumably your child - is still buckled in.

Safety groups like Safe Kids USA have been pushing for months to raise awareness on this issue.

"Most people do not realize that a car can go from 70 degrees to 130 degrees in minutes, or that small kids and infants are especially susceptible. Their body heat increases up to five times faster than an adult's and they have no way of protecting themselves," Lorrie Walker, the technical adviser for Safe Kids USA, said in a press release back in April.

And if anything, the situation has only gotten worse as cities around the country experienced their hottest summers on record. In fact, the world as a whole has been hotter than any time on record.

Still, as good as the cause is, we have our doubts about how effective this policy be on curbing the fatality rate. If a parent is in a rush or particularly absent-minded on a given day, will the sound of a seat belt alert chiming really be enough to check on their kids?

Check out MainStreet’s roundup of summer safety tips for kids.

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