Automakers Seek Federal Campaign Against Kids in Hot Cars

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An automobile manufacturers trade group is urging the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to launch a safety campaign to educate parents and caregivers on the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles, report news sources.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has asked the NHTSA to allocate up to $7 million of $124 million of unused safety belt funds to the campaign. NHTSA is in the midst of convening panels in several states to examine the issue of child death resulting from extreme heat in motor vehicles. The agency is also looking into aftermarket technology to help prevent children dying in vehicles, including warning devices that would alert drivers that a child has been left in the vehicle.

A San Francisco State University meteorologist says that temperatures in vehicles can rise very fast, noting that on a 85-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise to 104-degrees within 10 minutes and to 130 degrees within an hour. He said that since 1998, there have been 513 reported deaths of children due to being in hot cars, an average of 38 deaths annually.

One solution that safety advocates have promoted to help drivers remember that a child is in the back seat of a car is to leave their cell phone in the back seat or a teddy bear or diaper bag in the front seat as a visual reminder.

As a Fresno personal injury lawyer, I encourage parents and caregivers to take extra steps to ensure the safety of children in the car including using proper safety restraints during the drive and having a system to make sure children are not left alone in the vehicle.