For Immediate Release:
Aug. 13, 2019

Janette Fennell, 415-336-9279,  [email protected]
Amber Rollins, 913-205-6973,  [email protected]
Sue Auriemma, 516-721-2664, [email protected]
Grieving Families Challenge GM to Fulfill its Promise
of Adding Technology to Prevent Hot Car Deaths
More than 600 children have died since 2004 when GM vowed to have preventive technology available
Aug. 13, 2019, Philadelphia, PA – More than 50 still-grieving parents and family members who have suffered the loss of babies and young children in preventable hot car heatstroke tragedies sent an Aug. 13 letter to Mary Barra, General Motors chairman and CEO, challenging the auto manufacturer to fulfill the promise made in 2001 to add technology to its vehicles by 2004 that would detect a child in the back seat.

The letter points out that GM’s promise remains unfulfilled despite reasonably priced existing technology now being available. “We urge you to follow through on GM’s 2001 commitment to install a child reminder system that detects the presence of a child in the rear seat rather than merely discloses that the rear door has been opened,” the letter stated, adding, “A system that detects the presence of a child will also address the problem of children who independently climb into unoccupied vehicles, representing nearly 30 percent of the identified hot car fatalities annually.” 

In 2001 GM announced at a national press conference that pioneering technology designed to help prevent children from dying in hot vehicles would be available by 2004. A low-energy radar sensor was unveiled that can detect motion as subtle as the breathing of an infant sleeping in a rear-facing child safety seat.

“As parents and family members who have lost our children to these senseless tragedies, we can no longer stay silent as children continue to needlessly die in hot vehicles,” the letter said, noting that already this year at least 32 children have died in hot cars in the United States.

“We implore GM to offer an effective and comprehensive solution to prevent the tragedy of children dying in vehicles of heatstroke, like the requirement in H.R. 3593 ( The Hot Cars Act of 2019 ), the bi-partisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

###  is a national nonprofit dedicated to saving the lives of young children and pets in and around vehicles. The organization is devoted to eliminating vehicle-related risks that were previously unrecognized through data collection, research and analysis, public education and awareness programs, policy change, product redesign and supporting families to channel their grief into positive change. These everyday incidents include being run over, hot car deaths, carbon monoxide poisoning, car theft with children/animals inside, falls, knocking cars into gear, drowning inside vehicle, underage drivers, power window strangulation, trunk entrapment, etc.