The National Safety Council is pressing for more legislation. The organization said 21 states have laws that address children who are left in cars. Meanwhile, KidsAndCars.org is urging for better use of technology in cars. "Education and awareness are not enough," Rollins said. "We've got to be focusing on technology because we've proven year after year that knowing this can happen to you and hearing it on the news and knowing it happens to great parents ... is not changing anything."
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When a parent is tired and stressed, Rollins said, the "brain functions differently." "It's these competing memory systems in our brain, and going on autopilot — which is what happens when someone drives past the daycare and goes straight to work, thinking their kid is safe and sound all day — is not a conscious decision. It just happens," she said. "You can't train your brain not to forget." Though summer has ended and the weather is starting to cool down, Rollins warned that the danger of hot car deaths is still lurking. It doesn't have to be 90 degrees outside, or even 80 degrees, for a child to die in a hot car, she said, noting that children have died from heatstroke in cars when the temperatures were in the 50s.
KidsandCars.org offers tips to drivers, including: always keep cars locked, even if you don't have children; always keep keys out of children's reach; and if a child goes missing, check the inside and trunk of all cars in the area immediately. The National Safety Council advises parents to stick to a routine and avoid distractions while driving. The organization also suggests teaching children that cars are not play areas.
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