WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Al Franken announced the introduction of the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seat Act (HOT CARS Act) to help prevent heatstroke deaths of children trapped in hot cars.
According to reports, the bill would require cars to come equipped with technology to alert drivers if a child is left in the back seat once the car is turned off.
Such technology exists and is available in some vehicles, including many of GM’s 2017 and 2018 models.
Aftermarket products also exist, but the lifesaving technology is not yet widely implemented.
“A simple sensor could save the lives of dozens of children killed tragically in overheated cars each year, and my bill would ensure such technology is available in every car sold in the United States. It can take mere minutes on a hot day for a car to turn into a deathtrap for a small child. This basic technology, combined with public awareness and vigilance, can help prevent these catastrophes and safe lives,” Blumenthal said.
“Each summer, we hear heart-wrenching stories about children whose lives end far too early because they were accidentally trapped in the back seat of a hot car. We can do something to prevent these terrible tragedies, and that’s why I’ve helped introduce commonsense legislation that would make sure there are measures in place to alert you if your child is left in the back seat. I want to see this life-saving technology become the standard in our cars,” Franken said.
On average, 37 children die each year trapped in overheated cars in the United States, and more than 700 have died nationwide since 1998.
Since babies and young children are unable to regulate their body temperatures very well, their core body temperature can rise up to five times faster than adults and reach dangerous levels in just minutes when left in a vehicle on a hot day.
Children have also died from heatstroke in cars with temperatures as low as 60 degrees.