Child hot car deaths have been in the news in recent weeks with 10 children dying in such a gruesome way in just 20 days. Through August of 2019, 35 children have died after being left in cars during hot temperatures.
There were 53 child deaths in hot cars in 2018 and according to the statistics gathered by KidsandCars.org, an advocacy group, 889 children have died in hot cars from 1990 through 2018 – an average of 30 per year over the last 28 years.
In the wake of the recent number of child deaths in hot cars automakers have made an announcement saying they will commit to developing rear seat auditory and visual reminders that will turn on when the driver turns off the vehicle to become a standard system in all future passenger vehicles by 2025 in the US.
The announcement was made by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers in a joint statement which represented automakers like Ford, GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles(FCA) and others.
The statement also noted that when body temperature rises to 104 degrees or higher it can cause heatstrokes and children’s body temperatures rise three to five times faster than adults’. This presents a dire situation because a cars internal temperature can heat up to more than 20 degrees in 10 minutes.
The internal temperature of a car can rise to deadly, oven-like temperatures in less than an hour.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said that social media has been used to make people aware of vehicular heatstroke and is
also spending $1.3 million in advertising and informational materials which was provided to state and local organizations nationwide.
Over the last 20 years a lot of education and awareness campaigns have been made but Amber Rollins, who is the director of KidsandCars.org, says that is not enough. Angst over the hot car deaths have prompted legislatures to work on a proposed Hot cars Act of 2019.
The NHTSA says that it prioritizes education because even though technology is employed in every future vehicle, it would not address the hot car issue for the majority of the driving public who do not have the technology in their current cars and wouldn’t have it for many years.
The commitment from the automakers requires that they make progress reports beginning in 2022. U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, is callingfor the government to make sure this timetable is met.