Latest News 2017 September New Bill Would Attempt to Curtail Infant Heat Stroke

New Bill Would Attempt to Curtail Infant Heat Stroke

In the first seven months of 2017, 30 infants died of heat stroke while trapped in cars on hot days. Since 1998, 729 children have died of heat stroke when their caretakers forgot them or left them unattended for extended periods of time. Most of these children have been between 0 and 3 years old, with the vast majority of cases being accidental deaths.

In one year, nearly 50 children died of heat stroke while left in the car—more than double the number of children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. At the end of July this year, two children were killed in the same weekend in Phoenix. The desert city experienced temperatures of up to 103 degrees, killing a 7-month-old and a 1-year-old only hours apart.

Part of the problem is that young children's bodies are less capable of regulating temperature. As a result, even mild outside temperatures can be harmful for a baby stuck in a car.

A Small Solution on the Horizon

In response, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Al Franken have sponsored a bill that would require all automakers to install a sensor that would remind drivers to check the backseat after turning the engine off. According to the Senators, the alert—as well as public awareness—could save dozens of lives every year from preventable deaths.

The bill is titled, "Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seat Act," or the HOT CARS Act.

While we applaud the efforts of anyone making cars safer for children and families, we hope that there will one day be even better technology to solve this problem. After all, this bill is advocating for an alarm—and people can learn to tune alarms out or ignore them fairly quickly.

Self-cooling interior cabins, sensors that detect rising body temperature, or similar technology is not outside our grasp. The sooner automakers and innovators make preventing heat stroke a priority, the more we'll move beyond "alarms" into actual safety measures that can save lives without intervention.

Categories: Injuries to Children