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New Bill in Senate Seeks to Protect Children from Heat Stroke in Hot Cars

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 29-Aug-2017

Many people enjoy being out and about during the warm summer months, but as things heat up, our children can be exposed and vulnerable. Despite all the ongoing efforts to educate parents on the dangers of leaving their children in a hot car even for a few minutes, dozens of children die from heat stroke each year while strapped into their car seats. This is deeply alarming. Nevertheless, only 19 states currently have laws in place that make it illegal to leave a child alone in a car.

As NBC News reports, two senators—Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Al Franken, D-Minn.—introduced a bill that aims to reverse this trend. The HOT CARS Act (an acronym for Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in the Rear Seat) would require automobile manufacturers to install a sensor that would alert parents if they attempted to exit the vehicle while a child was still in the back seat. The measure has garnered support from dozens of child safety awareness organizations.

Parents who leave children in hot cars rarely do so out of outright negligence. In fact, some physicians have actually come up with a name to describe the phenomenon: Forgotten Baby Syndrome (FBS). They claim it can occur when a parent or other caregiver does something out of their normal routine. When resuming the routine, the motor memory function of the brain outpaces the cognitive function, causing the person to forget a child is still in the back seat. Some don’t discover their children until they return hours later or the next day.

Regardless of the cause or whether negligence plays a role in these children’s deaths, we must applaud any effort to protect the safety of children in hot cars.

To learn more about the dangers of heat stroke, see our post Six Surprising Facts About Heat Stroke.

If you believe your child has been victimized by an act of negligence, our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can help. Please contact us for more information.

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