November 1, 2017

KidsAndCars.org is joining forces with a coalition of animal care organizations in support of the HOT CARS Act of 2017. This new collaboration will help prevent hot car tragedies involving children, animals and other vulnerable members of our society.

Every year, children, the disabled and animals die from heatstroke inside motor vehicles. Much like children, whose body temperature rises three to five times faster than adults, dogs lack the ability to effectively regulate their body temperatures, which makes them extremely vulnerable to heatstroke. This is especially the case in cars, where the greenhouse effect can cause the interior temperature to quickly rise to deadly levels. It becomes a recipe for disaster when a child or animal is trapped inside a hot vehicle.

“Our coalition came together as a result of pet care professionals’ concern for the health of animals that are found trapped in hot cars,” said Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council’s (PIJAC) Mike Bober, a spokesperson for the coalition. “As Congress joins many states and localities in protecting children from the potentially deadly consequences of hot cars, coalition members wanted to ensure that pets are not forgotten.”

The animal welfare and care organizations that make up the coalition include the American Animal Hospital Association, American Pet Products Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Center for Pet Safety, Human Animal Bond Research Institute, National Animal Interests Alliance, Petco, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, Pet Leadership Council, Pet Partners, and World Pet Association.

“KidsAndCars.org is thrilled to be working with leaders in the pet care community on this life-saving legislation,” said Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org. “Every year, we learn of countless tragedies involving children, the disabled, and animals dying from heatstroke in vehicles. These are 100 percent preventable tragedies. There are low-cost technological solutions available, and they should be implemented right away.”

This year, 41 children have died in hot vehicles. No central repository keeps track of the number of animals that succumb to the heat in vehicles.

The HOT CARS Act has passed the full House of Representatives on September 6 as part of the SELF-DRIVE Act of 2017 and as an amendment to the AV START Act in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on October 4. The legislation requires technology to be put in vehicles as standard equipment to help prevent children, pets and others from dying of heatstroke in cars.

The dangers children face in and around motor vehicles bear striking similarities to the dangers faced by other vulnerable populations like companion animals, the elderly and the disabled. KidsAndCars.org has shown that technological solutions and innovations can save lives and directly benefit the safety of children, pets and other defenseless groups in significant ways:

-Safer power window switches are now standard on all vehicles so that pets and children no longer roll windows up on themselves. This can cause serious injuries or strangulation.

-Brake transmission shift interlock systems are now required in all vehicles to prevent children or pets from inadvertently knocking cars into gear.

-Rearview cameras are now required on all new vehicles so that children and pets are not backed over because they cannot be seen in the blindzone behind vehicles. This measure is the first time in the history of motor vehicles that a standard exists on what a driver should be able to see when backing up.

Countless lives have been saved by these and other simple and effective measures.

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