Tips and tech to prevent hot car deaths

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — Two toddlers were saved by strangers this week after their parents left them in hot cars. This is an incident that the National Highway Safety Administration says is becoming all too familiar.

It’s a familiar story to say the least. A child is left inside a parked car on a dangerously hot day, and within minutes, their body temperature rises to deadly levels.

To put that into perspective, the National Highway Safety Administration says if the temperature is 80 degrees outside, your car can heat up to 110 degrees in just 20 minutes. A child can die when their body temperature reaches 107

On Thursday, a New Jersey mother was arrested for child endangerment. A police officer smashed her car window after she left her daughter in the backseat, crying, and drenched in sweat.

Two days earlier, an Oklahoma woman was arrested for leaving her 1-year-old in a hot car.  That child also survived, but so far this year, 11 others haven’t. And most of the time, the child was forgotten by their caregiver.

The NHTSA is now urging parents to prevent accidents by setting up reminders for themselves. They say you should always open the backdoor of your car, and look in the backseat before locking it, even if you think you dropped your child off.

Or you can leave an important item in the backseat, like a cell phone, briefcase, computer, or shoe. The more important the item, the more likely you’ll grab it before leaving the car.

Another helpful reminder is to keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat, then move it to the front seat when your baby’s in the car.

There’s also a new technology that alerts parents when their kids still in the car. If you’re not wearing your seat belt, many cars use an alarm to alert you. This new technology would do the same thing, but instead, is a part of your child’s car seat.

A sensor on the car seat triggers a series of alarms if a child’s still buckled in, but the ignition is off. The feature is meant to prevent hot car deaths, and many people say it should be a requirement for automakers.

The NHTSA announced they don’t plan on mandating the technology yet, but did say that could change in the future.

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