Wicker Warns Against the Dangers of Leaving Unattended Passengers in Hot Cars

July 18, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today warned against the dangers of leaving unattended children in hot cars and provided tips and resources on how to prevent these tragedies.

“Since 1998, there have been more than 800 children who have died from heat stroke after being left in hot cars,” said Wicker. “This tragedy repeats itself every year, particularly during heat waves like the one we are experiencing. To prevent these heartbreaking situations, I urge Mississippians to take precautions, whether it is leaving your purse or cell phone in the backseat or having your childcare facility call you if the child has not been dropped off by a certain time. I would also urge my colleagues to pass the HOT CARS Act, which would require all new passenger vehicles to be equipped with a child safety alert system, and get this important legislation to the President’s desk before the end of the summer.”

Tips to Prevent Leaving a Child in an Unattended Vehicle:

  • Never leave your child alone in the car for any period of time.
  • Make it a habit of leaving your cell phone, briefcase, or purse in the backseat close to your child’s car seat.
  • When you leave your car, be sure to lock it so your children do not climb inside and become trapped.
  • Check the backseat every time you leave your car.
  • If you see a child left in a car, call 911 immediately.

For more resources on how to prevent hot car deaths, click here.

Wicker is the author of the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in the Rear Seat (HOT CARS) Act, which would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a final rule within two years requiring new passenger vehicles to be equipped with a visual and auditory alert system to remind caregivers to check the rear seat. The bill would also direct states to use a portion of their highway safety program funds to educate the public on the risks of leaving a child or unattended passenger in a vehicle, and require DOT to undertake a third-party study on retrofitting existing passenger motor vehicles. Earlier this month, the Commerce Committee approved the HOT CARS Act by voice vote.

For the full bill, click here.