We the People Petition: Prevent Child Heat Stroke Deaths in Vehicles

Kidsandcars.org launched a petition today at whitehouse.gov titled “Prevent Child Heat Stroke Deaths in Vehicles.”  The petition, which needs 100,000 signatures, is calling on the Obama Administration to authorize the Department of Transportation (DOT) to take the following steps to prevent children from dying in hot vehicles:

  • Provide funding for the research and development of innovative technology
  • Identify, evaluate and test new technology to accelerate the most feasible and effective solutions.
  • Require the installation of new technology in all vehicles and/or child safety seats to prevent children from being left alone in vehicles.

Some of the new technology already available includes:

  • TOMY International’s First Years brand “Smart Car Seat.”  It uses iAlert technology to communicate with your smart phone.  The seat, which has a weight sensor in it, detects when the seat gets too hot and sends an alert to the parent’s smartphone.  It tells the parent the temperature inside the car and that the child is still in his/her car seat.
  • Wireless Proximity Sensors are also available.  This technology relies on a device that stays with the car seat, and a key fob that works with the device on the carseat but goes with the parent.  An alarm goes off if a child is detected in a car seat where the two devices have become separated.  One such type is the Baby Alert’s ChildMinder Soft Clip System Digital Wireless Monitor, and the other is the ChildMinder Infant-Toddler ElitePad System.  Both of which can be purchased on the internet.

Although technology should not solely be relied on, and parents should always use reminders and be diligent about checking on their children in the backseat of a car, this technology can serve as an added level of security in the fight to prevent childhood deaths due to being left unattended in hot cars.

Please take the time to link to the whitehouse.gov website here and sign the petition titled “Prevent Child Heat Stroke Deaths in Vehicles.”


Kids and Hot Cars

The heat across the South is oppressive.  Temperatures have soared into the 90s (and above), and as far as I can tell will continue to do so for the remainder of July.

Although temperatures outside are often in the 90s, temperatures inside your car climb well into the triple digits quickly.  It disheartens me to read about the Georgia father who forgot to drop his 22-month old little boy, Cooper Harris, off at daycare.  According to USA today, Cooper Harris was the 13th child in the U.S. this year, and the sixth this month, to perish after being left in a car.

I wrote about this very issue last year on my blog but feel it needs repeating.  Below are two very easy ways to help you remember your child is in the back seat of your vehicle:

  • Put a stuffed animal in the seat beside you.  When you reach your destination and see the stuffed animal you’ll know to check on your child in the backseat.
  • Put your purse, cell phone or briefcase in the backseat next to your child’s seat.  When you reach your destination you’ll have to reach into the back to get your items.
  • put a daily alarm/reminder on your calendar or phone to make sure you didn’t forget about a child in the back seat.

I highly recommend that you visit the website of the organization Kids and Cars at kidsandcars.org for valuable safety information about kids in and around cars.


Dangers of Hot Cars: Another Child Dies in Georgia

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that a 2 year old child died after being left in a van at a day care center in Atlanta.  The article by  Alexis Stevens and Fran Jeffries also mentions that since 1998, there have been 509 deaths involving this sort of vehicular hyperthermia, also known as heat stroke.

Normally we think of the danger associated with vehicle collisions on the roadways, but this sad case is a reminder that there are plenty of dangers other than roadway wrecks involving cars, including backovers, heat strokes, and children being trapped in trunks without trunk release mechanisms.

An organization called kidsandcars is doing great work to protect our children from these sorts of dangers.  Their website – kidsandcars.org – is a wonderful site to get information about these dangers and what we can do to protect our children from them.

As one example of a way to help remember that a child is in the back seat of a vehicle, one recent article recommends that a parent put a stuffed animal in the front seat as a visual reminder that their child is in the back seat.   There are many, many more things we can do to avoid the needless deaths and injuries from hot cars and other dangers associated with vehicles.

Please take a moment to visit these websites and read these articles to learn how to prevent your children from becoming victims of these dangerous conditions in cars.