According to the National Safety Council, every year in the US, around 37 children die as a result of being left in a hot car. And KidsAndCars.org, a non-profit organisation trying to prevent these deaths, say that, since 1989, there have been nearly 900 heat-stroke related deaths in parked cars in the US. That includes nearly 50 last year, and 37 so far in 2019.
These figures are extremely worrying. So, in a statement released by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers on Wednesday, it was announced that nearly all carmakers are planning to add a system that will prevent parents or carers from leaving children in hot vehicles.
This includes General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda, who have all agreed to set up reminder systems in all cars with back seats. The system would be included in “nearly 100 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicles” by 2025 and would use visual and auditory alerts to parents that remind them to check the back seat.
Although campaigns to remind parents of the importance of child safety are effective tools, in recent years, car manufacturers have been urged to improve the safety features to try and eliminate these deaths. Nissan announced plans to introduce door alerts last year, and many other manufacturers are copying its example.
David Schwietert, interim CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturer said: “Automakers have been exploring ways to address this safety issue, and this commitment underscores how such innovations and increased awareness can help children right now.”
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers added: “At a minimum, these prompts will include a combination of auditory and visual alerts that will activate after a driver turns off the vehicle. With this pledge, the auto industry commits to having the rear seat reminder feature in essentially all cars and trucks by Model Year 2025 or sooner.”