Technology May Help Save Kids Left in Hot Cars

Filed under: In The News

Credit: AP

It happens with depressing frequency. A parent accidentally leaves a small child alone in a car. By the time the parent remembers what he or she has done, the child is dead.

Almost 50 children died that way last year -- a record, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This year, the tally is already at 22.

Maybe technology could help.

There could be a weight sensor in the back seats of cars that beeps if the driver turns off the car and leaves a child behind.

Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit safety advocacy group, suggested the sensors during a roundtable discussion hosted by the Department of Transportation this week.

The New York Times reports transportation officials held the roundtable specifically to discuss what could be done to prevent further deaths of children left in hot cars.

Fennell says her idea seems reasonable given that our cars already know when we are not buckled in or have left our lights on. Newer cars even know when we're getting too close to another object.

The Times reports Fennell wants a federal law to require automakers to include sensors in cars that would beep if drivers leave a passenger in the back of the car and remind drivers to make sure backseat passengers are buckled up in the first place.

"Technology must be part of the solution, just as it has been with seat belts and airbags to prevent crash injuries," Fennell tells The Times. "Warning systems to alert drivers that a child has been left in the car would prevent many of these tragic heat stroke deaths."

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