By Nathan Baca, ABC7
GAITHERSBURG, Md. (ABC7) — 21 children died nationwide already this year from heatstroke in cars. The average is 38 deaths annually, according to the tracking group. “If you even pop into autopilot for a moment on your way to daycare when you're going to drop off the baby before going to work, it's all it takes," said Kids In Cars President Janette Fennell. 7 On Your Side checked out car alert systems at King Buick GMC in Gaithersburg designed to remind parents they have a child in the back seat. GMC and Buick were the first carmakers to put in a system that once you put your child in the back seat the car actually remembers that you have a child in the back seat. Once you turn the car off, a dashboard alarm goes off reminding you to check. There is one weakness in this warning system– it only works if the engine is turned on after the rear car door opens, something that the Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection points out may not be enough. A hearing on car safety legislation will be held on July 24.
Nathan Baca @NathanBacaTV Many new @GMC & @Buick models remind you to check back seat to prevent child heatstroke. @Kia & @Hyundai have more sensors to detect kids who sneak into car & get trapped. I'll demo @ABC7News 5&6. View image on Twitter.
View image on Twitter 2 2:17 PM - Jul 19, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy See Nathan Baca's other Tweets "We were focusing today on kids that crawl into the car by themselves. They haven't been sitting in the car. We have to have a technology that will alert in a very loud and an obvious way," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) Schakowsky added that more than a third of juvenile heatstroke deaths happen when a child sneaks into a car. New Hyundai and Kia models have more sensitive systems which can detect children or animals in the backseat and sound a louder alarm than other vehicle makes. Nathan Baca @NathanBacaTV 21 kids dead this year left in hot cars. I'll show you new car alert systems and who @RepTimRyan blames for blocking progress @ABC7News 5 & 6.
View image on Twitter 3 12:22 PM - Jul 19, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy See Nathan Baca's other Tweets “People think that its parents who aren’t loving their children and doing everything for them and nothing can be further from the truth,” added Fennell. Advocates with group "Kids In Cars" hit capitol hill this week, talking to lawmakers about the "Hot Cars Act," first introduced in 2017. It would require all new cars to have alert systems warning if a kid is left in the backseat or finds a way to sneak into an unlocked vehicle. “The car companies are blocking the bill that we need, primarily General Motors and I just don’t see, maybe $30 dollars a car, and if it’s regulated for every car, it will be dollars, and we’re losing kids left and right and this technology is already there. There’s no reason for them not to do it,” said bill sponsor Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). “The Alliance is carefully reviewing the legislative proposals, including those that mandate vehicle-based approaches. However, we’ll never see a meaningful reduction in these fatalities if parents and caregivers don’t understand that there is no acceptable amount of time to leave a child alone in a parked or locked car. Public awareness and education are critically necessary components to addressing heatstroke fatalities,” wrote spokesperson Wade Newton of industry trade group Auto Alliance.