There has been a record number of toddler and infant deaths this summer due to being stuck, or left, in a hot car. Some even call these deaths by hyperthermia an epidemic.
Sadly, you can add one more victim to that list as a 3-year-old girl called Hallie was left in the car during church, and was dead when the family came out 90 minutes later.
Hallie was an accident; as there were siblings, cousins, parents, and aunts and uncles involved, and no one was "in charge" of the toddler. Sadly, she was forgotten in the Tampa, Florida, heat. It's a tragedy that's becoming more and more common, and one consumer group has decided to do something about it.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants car companies to create a warning chime when children are left in the car, not unlike the seat belt chime we hear when we forget to buckle up. The group is considering petitioning the government to make this a mandatory feature.
While this chime wouldn't help those children who play in hot cars and accidentally get locked in, it would create awareness (again, like the seat belt chime) that children in cars are not safe. Ideally cutting down on those, like Hallie, who were forgotten as well as those children who were left intentionally by parents who didn't seem to understand the dangers.
General Motors is already working on an alert, but is not close to having a method that they feel confident would serve as an effective warning system. An auto supplier and even NASA are also experimenting with technology that can alert you when a car is too hot for a child, or when a child is locked in a car. But none of these systems is expected to be in place for at least a decade.
Until then, vigilance, for the safety of your own children as well as those you see when you're walking through the parking lot, is of utmost importance.
Any parent can have a frazzled day and make a mistake. We just need to make sure it's not a deadly one.
Should these alarms be mandatory for your car?
Image via di_the_huntress/Flickr