'Kids and Cars' Act Passes Congress

Filed under: Babies, Toddlers Preschoolers, Preschoolers, Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Baby Essentials

There are days when I grumble about the weight-lifting chore it takes to hoist my son in his infant car seat into the car, out of the car, into the car, out of the car. Of course, that car seat serves to protect my child's safety in the case of a crash. It's just an awesome side benefit that I'm also building my biceps.

However, car seats aren't the only safety measures that can help prevent the injury and death of children in and around cars. The 'Kids and Cars' Act (S. 694 & HR 1216) was passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate today after receiving prior approval from the House in December. President Bush is expected to sign it into law.

The bill requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create a database of injuries and deaths resulting from non-traffic incidents, such as the tragic cases of cars backing over a child, cars accidentally set in motion by a child, and injuries cause by power windows. It also requires that NHTSA study whether additional safety features should be mandated in future models. These changes could include windows that auto-retract if they detect an obstacle (similar to garage doors), blind-spot-detection cameras that allow a driver to see behind the car, and interlock brake systems that require the brake to be engaged in order to move out of park.

It seems that the automotive industry is supportive of these changes, and some companies are already rolling out these features on new models. Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, stated that, "This industry is 100 percent behind this legislation and we're committed to using these initiatives to further enhance child safety in and around motor vehicles. We applaud Congress for working with the Administration, the industry and others who share our concern for safety to produce this comprehensive approach to enhancing child safety."

While incidents of this sort are rare, they are terribly tragic and preventable. It seems reasonable to me that we should use the technology available to make cars safer for our families. However, no safety feature will ever replace the need to teach children about being careful around cars and in parking lots, and no rearview camera can beat the eyes and ears of attentive parents and drivers.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.