Proposed act could save the lives of children left in hot cars

U.S. Senate introducing the Hot Cars Act to prevent child heatstroke deaths in cars. Seven children this year have died in Texas due to being left in hot cars.

JEFFERSON COUNTY - Beaumont mother Diamond Pitre is happy to hear the latest bill proposal from U.S. Senators. It’s called the HOT CARS Act.

If it passes, it would require new cars to be equipped with a visual and auditory alert system to remind parents to check their rear seat. The Senate bill also requires a study on retrofitting carts with reminder systems.

“I think that’s a brilliant idea to have just remind a mom, hey, you forgot someone in the back seat, come back!” said Pitre on Monday.

Pitre has a 3-year-old son named Marcus Robinson. The two were enjoying the afternoon at the park. She told 12News the new measure will be a great reminder to other parents.

“It would prevent so many of those scary stories you hear on the news of a child being left inside a car, especially during the summer heat.” She said.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, 7 children have died in hot cars this year.

“Leaving a child in a car unattended is not okay. No matter if you have the A.C. on or windows cracked. You don’t need to do it.” Said Deputy Marcus McLellan with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

McLellan told 12News if the driver does leave a child or a pet unattended, it could lead to a citation.

If the child is injured or dies from being kept in a hot car, the driver could face a felony.

 

Steps for Prevention by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:

  • When you get out of the vehicle, make sure all children leave the vehicle too, even if you're only stopping for a minute.
  • Don't ever let kids play in parked cars or garages.
  • Lock your car doors and trunk so that kids can't get in on their own. Keep keys out of reach.
  • Communicate clearly with others. Don't assume someone else is taking the kids out of the car.
  • Have your babysitter or day care call you if your child isn't dropped off that day.
  • Be calm, careful and conscious. Mistakes happen when people are tired or distracted. Do not zone out, and pay close attention to small changes in your daily routine.

To Help You Remember When Your Child Is With You...

  • Always check the backseat before you get out of the car. Parents and caregivers can forget they have the baby in the backseat, especially if the child is quiet or has fallen asleep.
  • Place your baby in a front-facing car seat where you can see his/her face in your rearview mirror.
  • Put things you will need at your destination, like purses or phones, in the backseat.
  • Put the child's diaper bag or teddy bear in the front seat with you.
  • Talk out loud to your baby while you are in the car together.

And Don't Forget...

  • Leaving the windows down or the air conditioning on is NOT enough to keep your child's body at a safe temperature for long.
  • Your babysitter or child's caregiver needs to know and follow these guidelines.
  • If you see a child left alone in a hot car, call 911 immediately.

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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