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    Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    challenge posed by Randy Myers 749 days 17 hours 54 minutes ago

    Category: Politics
    Challenge Forum

    Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    It’s not uncommon to hear Americans complain that the U.S. has become a “nanny state” that intrudes too broadly on our personal lives. We impose sin taxes on things deemed harmful to society, like tobacco and alcohol. We require the use of seatbelts in automobiles. We force larger restaurant chains to post calorie totals next to their menu items. This is government trying to save us from ourselves. Some people appreciate it, others deeply resent it. (Witness the years-long campaigns in some states to overturn motorcycle helmet laws.)

    Here’s a new government mandate—or potential mandate—to consider., a group that works to make automobiles safer for children, contends car companies should be required to equip their vehicles with a new type of alarm, one that would alert parents if they forget to take their small children with them when getting out of their vehicles.

    According to the group, about three dozen children—usually very young—die of heatstroke or related issues each year after being trapped inside vehicles. Typically, it happens when a parent or caregiver leaves the car but forgets that the child is strapped into the back seat. With the car windows up, the sun heats the interior of the car to the point the child dies—a heartbreaking tragedy.

    Jannette Fennell, founder of, has argued that most cars already have technology that warns motorists if they leave their car’s headlights turned on, and that using technology to save the lives of young children is more important than using it to prevent dead batteries.

    It is more important. Of course. Yet automakers haven’t introduced any solutions on their own. (To be fair, the federal government concluded in 2012 that the necessary technology “just doesn’t seem to be there yet.”) And some people do contend that, at most, this new safety feature should be optional, not mandatory.

    What do you think? Should our government mandate these new alarm systems? Or would this represent an example of granny-state overreaching?

    Suggested reading:

    “Should the Government Step in to Prevent Hot Car Deaths?,”,

    “I, Too, Left my Child in a Hot Car,”, June 6, 2014

    “Heat Stroke,”

    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    Dear Randy Myers,
    I think it is a good idea! To have alarms in their car to remind them but not just like a siren go off or heat camera in their car. But like a reminder to check in the back of the seat. What I mean by this is most car now days have Bluetooth in their car. Every time the driver open her/his door. The Bluetooth voice goes off before they even get out of their car and says this "check in your backseat for any children" or "Please, look in your back seat for children, animals, and/or missing stuff. Thank you for making America more safe" Lets say they don't have children or animals. Him/Her have the option to turn it off so they don't get annoyed about the product. If the are deaf then a screen will light up with a message saying "Check backseat"

    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?


    To be completely blunt, I feel like if you have to be reminded that you have your child with you, you maybe shouldn't have a child. We all have our days where we maybe forget things like phones and wallets, but this is a CHILD! My car sets off an alarm if I'm driving and have anything in my passenger seat, such as my backpack. As many of you out there know, those little suckers can be heavy! I have to move my backpack into the backseat to make the alarm shut up. I imagine that any time you have anything in your back seat and take the keys out, a similar alarm would sound. My question is, how on earth do people get out of their cars and not see what is inside the car with them? I cannot wrap my head around this, especially when it comes to a living, breathing child. I feel like making this one mandatory is an over-reach. I'm looking forward to reading other opinions on this!


    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    Difficult to answer Randy,
    I am all for freedom. However I don't think it is truly possible to achieve and freedom comes at a cost. Freedom comes at a cost of other types of freedom. No we don't have the freedom to drive whatever speed we want on the freeway but if you dig deeper you will understand that we did have that freedom at one point. It was through trial, error and tragedy that we collectively realized how bad it was to drive too quickly. We freely agreed that we would set a speed limit. People voted on it, there was choice, just not my individual choice.

    Issues with this kind of freedom fall on this type of argument. I think I have articulated myself so as far as the individual case of car alarm freedom goes: I think it should be up to the public. There are ways to get this on the ballot, get signatures, eventually get a vote on it. We had the freedom in the past to just make up rules but we agreed that voting and using a somewhat democratic system would be best as we moved forward.

    Personally, I would sign it. I think any safety precaution that could save lives should be mandatory. I am awfully tired of companies ignoring health or safety risks simply because their product won't sell as well. I am reminded of Exxon Mobil who has known about the environmental effects of gasoline and carbon dioxide for over thirty years and has chosen to conceal the information and continue producing in order to make money.


    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?


    I just spend a lot of time thinking about all of this!

    I think that this would be an amazing contribution to the safety and future of motor vehicles. This has become huge problem with lots of families leaving their children in the car. At first, I thought that this would just cause people to use it as an excuse and not pay attention. However, I don't think that there is any problem with this as a reminder to parents. I think it's absolutely ridiculous that parents have become so ignorant and stupid. The fact that we need to have something in place is embarrassing.

    I do think that this is something that is a simple fix for a huge problem.

    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?


    I actually never heard about it before but I think that this is a great idea and it would help to save a lot of lives! I think that this alarm system could be used not only for children but also for the animals! I always hear that dogs are being left in the cars and they died because of a heatstroke. If the temperature is very high, no children or pets should be left in the cars.

    Also, they could create a system to automatically cool off a car if someone is inside. Maybe something with a rechargeable batteries or something. Something absolutely needs to be done. There were multiple times when I was walking outside and I see animals left in the cars without even opening the window and they suffer being inside. This applies to the children as well.

    Sadly, a lot of parents are careless or forget to take them together. By creating some sort of system, this could save lives! Many of them!

    My concern is how all the cars would install these systems? Should it be mandatory for everyone? Should the government sponsor it? If it’s expensive, many people will do everything not to get this system for sure!

    Have a great day!

    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    Hello Randy!!

    I agree with Ryan, if you cannot remember that you have children at any given time/day, etc, then you should have kids. Yes, we are all forgetful at times and we often leave our wallets/purses in our cars, even our car keys inside the car, but a child? NO.

    I would agree that allowing car companies to do is definitely a granny-state overreaching. Parents, and I speak to myself as well being that i am a new parent myself, need to learn to be responsible with their kids.

    I just dont see a valid reason as to why we should let car companies do this. That would just make it okay for parents to "forget" their kids in the cars all the time. It is only common sense to not leave a child inside a locked car with windows up or down, especially in the heat. If you make sure you have your wallet or purse before you get out of your car, you can do the same and make sure to take your kids out before you shut the car and head out.

    I wonder if this (absurd) alarm would work the same with dogs? cats?

    interesting topic! ♥

    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    Hey Randel ;]

    I do feel like that is a bit too much, but then again we are a "nanny state" so theres no such thing as too much. Majority of the people have below 100 IQ, some people just can't seem to remember their kids are dying in the heat. I think the car companies should have that as an option to put that into cars if the owners want them. If they don't then that is their choice, they made their choice and that should be how it is. It's the same idea as; why should we spend so much money trying to stop people from wanting to do drugs? it is there choice and just let them make their choice. If they hurt other then they pay the consequences. I don't think it's something that needs to be enforced. Some people outraged by certain laws in place that is literally there to protect the safety of the people, if they don't like it then they can dive into a lake. If you listen to the opinions of everyone, you will never be able to make a decision and take action because someone out there is going to complain. So your goal is to tend to everyone's views or the majority?

    Thanks for reading, hope your having a great day.


    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    As a human being, it is easy to look at someone and assume that leaving a child in a sweltering hot car is heinous and neglectful (and it is). The idea that a child is left responsible in the hands of an adult, in that condition, is terrifying. I can easily say, I would never, ever, but as a parent, I also understand how that can happen without thinking. First let me premise that I have never left my two girls in the car, as I am neurotic of how I love them and could not ever imagine a more torturous death then suffocation. Also, I am not giving excuses for those parents who left their children to die, but…I do want to build a picture as to why this can happen to anyone, including good parents.

    The first few years of parenting and the balancing act of it is very difficult. I remember not sleeping for the first few years of having kids, and even dosing off while driving with them due to breastfeeding or even them crying nightly for different reasons and going to work. I remember stories of friends with their kids locked in the car crying on the phone with me, and by all means, they were not bad parents. They were lucky enough to catch that their children were locked in the cars at a relatively safe time to save them by breaking the glass of the car windows. No exaggeration, but all of my friends in their first year of their parenting locking their child or children in the car.

    The pros of issuing such a mandate can help the family from danger, and decrease unwanted deaths of children in heat strokes caused my cars and there is more of awareness and respect for life. Much like seat belt and air bag that mandated laws for safety, this could really help give less heartache and a chance for the parent who was not thinking. Insurance companies can add this as another reason to lower rates for child safety.

    However, in such mandating, increases of cars with alerts or car seats with alerts will go higher. The consumer will then have to go through the transition of cars/seats without alarms and there are parents unwilling to spend or replace what they already have.

    As parent, I have had the fortune of having not locked my children in that situation, but I have had close moments. I understand the blankness of a routine and simply being so exhausted that going through the motions is very possible. Because of this reason, there should be a mandate for car seats with alarms/alert for parents with children. the child will have a voice.

    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    Howdy, Randy Myers!

    I do not think our government should mandate these laws. The truth is our government already has to many laws pertaining to social institutions. We all know it is wrong to leave a baby in a heated car where it could die. Make that illegal, but then going a step further and mandating that everyone have these alarm systems is a bit too much. People are going to be stupid. There is no avoiding it. Have it as an option for parents that want it, just don't mandate that everyone gets it.

    Thanks for reading!


    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    Hey Randy and all!

    Yes, this is not an easy subject by any means. Sad in so many ways, besides. I guess I am not comfortable with the idea of the Government mandating any sort of baby alarm. There are way too many babies and young children being left alone in a car and suffering needlessly; however, I feel this can best be handled by the auto industry, rather than the Government.

    The auto industry has alarms for keys left in the ignition, seat belts not being used, doors unlocked, etc, why not an alarm that detects weight in the back seat area, or any seat once the car is shut off and the driver's seat is being vacated? There must be a way to detect this and bring an alert message to the driver as they are readying to exit the vehicle.

    Yes, there are heartless parents in our world who think nothing of leaving children in the car and tragedy has come of this. Somehow there has to be a resolution; however, I think a Government involvement is a bit extreme. The auto industry can offer this as an option and insurance companies can promote the use of it.

    Just today on the news a parked car was found to have two small puppies inside with the windows rolled up tight and they were yelping and having heat exhaustion problems. The police smashed in a window and took the puppies out. This was known because passersby reported it.

    Everyone should immediately report any sighting of animals or children being left alone in a car. There is no excuse for this for any amount of time or reason. Be alert to this, as a Government involvement and the auto industry won't happen overnight. Be an advocate of safety for those who cannot help themselves.


    Re: Heatstroke Deaths in Cars: Time to Mandate Alarms?

    So, we should all be made to do something just because a dozen or so parents can't remember they have a kid? I think it would be better if these forgetful people were discouraged from having kids. I guess the technology is there, and it probably wouldn't be too expensive for the manufactures, but still, some people are just too stupid. I can not fathom getting out of a car with out a child, first of all, they are usually making some noise if not a lot when I pull into a parking lot, second they usually throw a fit if they think you are leaving them.

    Maybe, it would be best to leave the child at home when one goes to the store rather than a hot car. I will leave the dog home because it is too hot in my truck when I go to non-pet friendly stores.