Photo illustration: Axios visuals

This year is on track to become the deadliest year for children being left in hot cars, according to founder and president of advocacy group Kids and Cars, Janette Fennell.

The big picture: By this point in 2010 — declared the deadliest year, during which 49 children died. This year to date, there have been 29 deaths of children being left in hot cars according to Kids and Cars' count. 2018 has already seen all-time high temperature records, largely seen as a near-term impact of climate change.

What they're doing

Fennell and her organization are fighting for technology to be installed in vehicles that serves as a reminder "so someone will know that there's a child, a pet, or an elderly or disabled person in the back seat," Fennell said.

  • The "Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats Act," or the HOT CARS Act, was introduced in the House last year by Kids and Cars with Reps. Tim Ryan, Peter King, and Jan Schakowsky. It passed after being attached to the Self-Drive Act.
  • The purpose is to require vehicles "to be equipped with a system to alert the operator to check rear designated seating positions after the vehicle engine or motor is deactivated by the operator."

The bill was then introduced in the Senate, and attached as an amendment to the AV START Act, which is still pending approval as lawmakers work through additional safety concerns according to Senator Richard Blumenthal's office, who was a sponsor of the original legislation.

What they're saying
  • Dr. David Diamond, professor of molecular physiology at the University of South Florida, researched brain activity in relation children being left in the back seat. He told the told the Washington Post: "Memory is a machine, and it is not flawless. Our conscious mind priorities things by importance, but on a cellular level, our memory does not. If you're capable of forgetting your cellphone, you are potentially capable of forgetting your child."
  • Blumenthal said last year when he introduced the HOT CARS Act: "It can take mere minutes on a hot day for a car to turn into a deathtrap for a small child. ... A simple sensor could save the lives of dozens of children killed tragically in overheated cars each year, and my bill would ensure such technology is available in every car sold in the United States."
"We just can't wait. This has been a tough year."
— Fennell, to Axios

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months — Trump claims COVID "will go away" during debate.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: How to help save 130,000 livesFDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.
41 mins ago - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

1 hour ago - Health

How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!