August 17, 2022
Amber Rollins, Director, [email protected], 913-205-6973
Janette Fennell, President & Founder, [email protected], 415-336-9279
4 Children Die in Hot Cars in 1 week
Action Urgently Needed to Reduce Tragedies with Effective Occupant Detection Technology
Since last Tuesday, at least 4 children have died inside hot cars nationwide. With families continuing to return to the workplace and routines shifting with the start of school, Kids and Car Safety is urgently calling for extra caution from families and swift action from the auto industry.

8/16/22: Child died in a hot car in Fort Smith, AR
8/14/22: A 6-month-old infant was left in a hot car in Calcasieu Parish, LA
8/12/22: A 3-year-old girl was found in a hot car and died in Carthage, MO
8/9/22: A 3-month-old infant was unknowingly left in a car in Washington, DC

Already this year at least 18 children have died in hot cars. Since 1990, over 1,000 children have died in hot cars and at least another 7,300 survived with varying types and severities of injuries, according to data collected by Kids and Car Safety.

The majority of hot car fatalities involve children who were unknowingly left by an otherwise loving, responsible parent or caregiver (56%). Additionally, about a fourth (26%) of children who die in hot cars got into the car on their own and became trapped, of which 68% were little boys. Eighty-seven (87%) percent of children who die in hot cars are age 3 or younger.

"It is unfathomable for families to continue burying children when occupant detection technology exists and is readily available to install in all new cars today. These precious children do not have to die in this preventable way," said Janette Fennell, president and founder of Kids and Car Safety.
In November 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden. It includes a provision that addresses hot car tragedies by requiring an ‘audio and visual reminder alert to check the back seat’ in new passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, the provision does not specify a requirement for the system to actually detect a child alone in a vehicle. Without detection, a system will be inadequate. A reminder alert alone falls short of what is needed to prevent hot car deaths and injuries and creates a false sense of security for families.
The differences between simple rear seat reminder systems and effective occupant detection systems could quite literally mean the difference between life and death. It is now up to U.S. DOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a safety standard that will address hot car tragedies in a comprehensive manner which must include occupant detection within the 2-year time period required in the IIJA without delay.
As the NHTSA continues to work on issuing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for hot car technology, automakers do not have to wait. Occupant detection and alert technology costing less than $50 is currently available and provides comprehensive and compelling solutions to end these needless tragedies. Automakers can and they should begin installing this technology immediately.
As the organization continues to emphasize the need for effective technology in all vehicles, Kids and Car Safety invites you to join in raising awareness in your community today.

Safety advocates are encouraging the public to take extra precautions any time they’re experiencing a change in routine. Families should create habits to protect their children using Kids and Car Safety’s Look Before You Lock safety checklist.

Hot Car Dangers Fact Sheet

Hot Car Fatality Data

Hot Car Technology Current State of Affairs

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