Hot Car Death Statistics
The leading cause of non-collision-related deaths among children under the age of 15 is heatstroke in vehicles, notes the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. About 87 percent of these fatalities involve children ages three and younger, and slightly more than half involve a forgetful caregiver.
Overall, statistics from KidsAndCars.org reveal that during the past 25 years close to 750 children have lost their lives after suffering from heatstroke when left in a hot vehicle. From the period between 1990 and 2010, at least 22 of these child heatstroke fatalities occurred here in Georgia.
Georgia Hot Car Legislation
Georgia provides legal protection for any individual who breaks into a hot vehicle to rescue a child or elderly adult. Under this law, good Samaritans are immune from lawsuits from the vehicle owner for property damage. The rescuer must first check to make sure no doors are unlocked and must have reason to believe the individual locked inside is in imminent danger. Some Georgia residents say that law should be extended to cover dogs and other pets.
Existing Tools and Technology That Could Help Minimize Hot Car Deaths
Fortunately, existing tools and technology can help minimize hot car deaths, at least until the time when new sensors are available to consumers. CBS reveals that some of the technology and tools currently available include:
- Smart car seats
- Wireless proximity sensors
- Wearable GPS trackers
New Technologies in the Works
According to PC Magazine, AT&T is in the process of advancing in-vehicle hotspot technology. This breakthrough could alert parents that a child has been left in a car, and that the internal temperature is too high. In addition to an alert, this technology would allow parents to remotely access their vehicle to turn on the air conditioning until help can arrive.
These features could save countless deaths or injuries to children who are accidentally left in hot cars. We would like to see this technology become a reality.
Of course, diligence and education may be the most effective forms of prevention. Simple actions like putting an item you need in the backseat so don’t forget to grab it and your child before exiting the vehicle, establishing a routine of opening the back door every time you get out, or remembering to look before you lock, could help prevent a tragic loss of life.
- org: National Statistics Child Non-Traffic Fatalities by Type & Year
- org: U.S. Child Vehicular Heat Stroke Fatalities
- Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety: Heatstroke
- PC Magazine: AT&T’s Hot Car Sensor Could Save Babies’ Lives
- WBS-TV: Georgia Senate Passes Hot Car Bill
- org: State Laws: Children Left Unattended in Vehicle Laws by State
- CBS News: How Technology Could Help Prevent Kids’ Deaths In Hot Cars