New bill aims to stop hot car deaths

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, parents and safety advocates introduced a bill Wednesday that they hope will stop children from dying in hot cars.

The Hot Car — Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats — Act of 2017 would make back seat alert systems standard equipment in new cars to prevent child deaths.

“I know as a parent it’s crazy hectic. There is the possibility that it slips your mind. I think it’s a great idea,” said mother of two Stephanie Sammons of Centerville. She said she recently had a loaner vehicle from a dealership that had the technology.

Since 1990, more than 800 children have died from heatstroke in hot cars — nine so far this year.

“They are tragic. I don’t blame anybody. I think as busy parents it’s just easy to get distracted,” said Dorraine Robison of Kettering, who is a mother of two.

General Motors already features rear seat reminders in many new vehicles. The technology monitors the rear doors, and will chime and display a message to alert the driver to look in the rear seats.

Miamisburg-based Evenflo has also created a car seat with an alert system. It uses a sensor in the car seat buckle and chimes to remind drivers there is a child in the car seat.

Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Peter King (R-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the bill at a news conference in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

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