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Laws to Prevent Hot Car Deaths

Parent and caretaker education is our greatest tool when it comes to preventing hot car deaths, especially in Arizona. Still, two preventable deaths have occurred so far this summer. Child welfare advocates have proposed laws written to help parents avert tragedy. Here are two:

HB 2494: Passed, in effect August 9th, 2017

This bill protects Good Samaritans from being sued for damaging a vehicle, if the damage is a result of rescuing a child or pet trapped in a hot car. The person must believe the child or pet to be in imminent danger, and must make sure the car doors are locked before they are legally authorized to break the windows. They must also call the authorities before causing property damage.

If you see a child in a hot car, call 911 so that medical responders can arrive as soon as possible. If you determine that you have to break a window to rescue the child, break the glass furthest away from the child to avoid injury. Then, by law and for safety’s sake, stay with the child until authorities arrive. If the child is alert, offer them water. If the child is not alert, dab their skin with cool water (not ice).

S.1666: HOT CARS Act of 2017, Introduced July 27

This proposed law would require car manufacturers to install back seat alarms in vehicles, which would alert drivers to the presence of passengers in the back seat. Like seat belt sensors, weight would activate the alarm and reduce the chance of drivers accidentally forgetting a child in the car. The law would also outline sanctions for caregivers who ignore the alarm.

The death of a child due to being left in a car devastates parents and families. While we wait for progress on S.1666, it’s a good idea to come up with your own system to remind yourself that your child is with you in the car. For example, you can┬áplace a teddy bear in the passenger’s seat, or loop a lanyard around your interior door handle. And never leave your child in a hot car, not even for a few minutes.

Do you have a system for remembering your little passengers? Share in the comments below.

Posted in Blog on August 10th, 2017