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Push to get Hot Cars Act passed to protect children

A toddler died Monday after being found in hot car
tierrasanta child death 1.jpeg
Posted at 5:34 PM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-10 12:36:11-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Investigators are still piecing together the circumstances surrounding the 2-year-old girl who died after she was found in a hot car in Tierrasanta.

Police tell 10News the mother called 911 Monday afternoon, saying she had just woken up from a nap and could not find her daughter in their home on Leary Street.

The woman later called back and said she found her daughter in her Nissan Altima, unresponsive and not breathing, according to police. It is still unclear how long the child was in the vehicle. The Child Abuse Unit is now investigating.

“The biggest mistake anyone could ever make is to think that it couldn’t happen to them,” said Janette Fennell, founder of Kids and Cars. The organization’s statistics showed 26 kids have died after being left in a hot car so far this year. Right now, technology does exist to alert families of an unattended child in a vehicle.

One device is called “Sense-A-Life,” created by two Florida dads. It involves a sensor placed under a car seat. If you put the vehicle in park and open the door, an alarm will remind the driver of a child in the back. If there’s no response, it will send an alert to our phone.

A few cars, like the Kia Telluride, has a sensor system built into it. It warns the driver when you exit your vehicle that someone may still be inside. The vehicle’s horn will go off if you have not returned to open the door.

Fennell said there is a push to get the Hot Cars Act passed at a federal level. It would mandate technology in all vehicles that would alert drivers to someone left in their car, but she said there has been resistance.

“It probably comes down to money, but it also comes down to the auto industry that fights against all these types of things,” Fennell said. “Every single safety item in your vehicle people should understand have been very long, hard battles. Like decades.”

Fennell said it will take in part, political will to get the Hot Cars Act passed.