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News & Press: JPMA News

JPMA Voices Support for HOT CARS Act

Tuesday, August 6, 2019   (0 Comments)

Bill would require new passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with a child safety alert system


Mount Laurel, NJ, (August 10, 2019)  The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) commends legislators in both Houses of Congress on their efforts to prevent children from dying in hot cars. A record 53 children suffered tragic heatstroke deaths in motor vehicles last year and 30have already died in 2019. On average, 38 children left unattended in vehicles or who entered unoccupied vehicles on their own have died each year since 1998. More than 900 children have died of vehicular heatstroke since 1990, and the average number is increasing.


In just 10 minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches approximately 104 degrees, and at 107 degrees it is lethal. Children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults, with body temperatures rising three to five times faster.


“We tend to think that it could never happen in our family because we are good and careful parents, but it can – and does – happen to families from all backgrounds and walks of life,” said Kelly Mariotti, executive director of JPMA. “Most of the parents who have lost a child due to one of these horrible tragedies were loving and conscientious, but a distraction or change in routine led to a fatal mistake.”


The HOT CARS Act of 2019 is a bipartisan and bicameral effort to equip new passenger vehicles with reminder systems to help prevent these needless child deaths, and also to study the potential for retrofitting existing vehicles with this technology. A distinct auditory and visual alert, which may also be combined with a haptic alert, would remind drivers to check the rear seat for the presence of a child when the vehicle is turned off. S.1601 was introduced in May and H.R. 3593 was introduced in June, and both have growing support. Technology that will detect the presence of a child is a crucial component that is reflected in the House bill.


“Public education and awareness are important to protecting children from heatstroke, but they are not enough,” added Mariotti. “This alert technology is already available, and it should be required in all new passenger vehicles.”

Until vehicle requirements are implemented, JPMA offers the following tips for parents and other caregivers to help avoid these needless tragedies:


  • Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended
  • Always lock unoccupied vehicle doors so children cannot enter on their own
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle—front and back—before locking the door
  • Ask your childcare provider to call if your child doesn’t arrive as expected
  • Place an item you need, like a purse, laptop or phone, in the back seat
  • Place a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat to remind you that a child is in the vehicle
  • If you see a child alone in a locked car, get them out immediately and call 911. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and cooled


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