It happened again! Another child died in a car left in the sun, what any parent should do to avoid these tragedies

Apps, software installed on the cars and for some years now the commitment to the so-called anti-abandonment seat. There is a way to avoid tragedies, but between stress, technological distractions, hectic work rhythms, and lack of adequate sleep, there are many reasons why this happens, and parents who experience endless accidents should not be stigmatized.

There are two shocking news items that arrived within hours of the United States: a 16-month-old baby in Pennsylvania and a 5-year-old boy in Houston both died after being left in the car for several hours and became hot in the sun.

A fatal tragedy that once again draws attention to the absolute need not to leave children (or pets!) In the car unattended, even for a moment. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 5 children have already died in a hot vehicle in the United States this year. On average, 38 children die each year in a hot car – one death every nine days, according to the safety organization Kids and Car Safety.

In Italy, the figures are fortunately much lower: since 1998, there have been fewer than 10 deaths of children forgotten in the car in Italy. But does it happen? The tragic script is always the same: One of the two parents literally forgets their child in the car and thinks they have already taken him to school or left him at home. Tragedies that, yes, everyone is ready to say, could have been avoided.

All of this probably has the name dissociative amnesiaa dissociative disorder that makes you unable to remember important personal information or due to trauma or severe stress that would not normally be forgotten.

What you need to know

In Italy, there is a law that requires the use of baby safety seats. This is the obligation to install an alarm device on board the vehicles to prevent cases of being left in the car by children under 4 years of age, introduced by Act 1 October 2018, n.117.

The Regulation, adopted by Decree No 122/2019 by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, the so-called “child seat decree“, Identifies the technical requirements of the anti-abandonment device, provided that it may alternatively be:

  • originally integrated into the child restraint system
  • a basic equipment or vehicle accessory included in its approval file
  • independent of both the restraint system and the vehicle

The devices work in a very simple way: they have sensors connected to the driver’s mobile phone, which are activated when the child is sitting. When the driver moves away from the car, the sensors are activated and send an alarm to the smartphone, warning it of the danger.

Essential features and functions

  • (a) The anti-reporting device shall signal that a child under the age of 4 is left on the vehicle on which it is carried by the driver of the vehicle himself by activating one of the signals referred to in point (d).
  • b) the device it must be able to be activated automatically each time it is usedwithout further action on the part of the driver
  • c) the device must give a confirmation signal to the driver at the moment of activation
  • (d) in the event that the device detects the need to give an alarm signal, the latter shall be able to immediately attract the driver’s attention through appropriate visual and acoustic or visual and haptic signals, can be felt inside or outside the vehicle
  • (e) The anti-abandonment device must be capable of activating the communication system specified in point (g)
  • (f) if powered by a battery, the device must be capable of signaling low levels of residual charge to the driver;
  • g) anti-abandonment devices may be equipped with an automatic communication system for sending messages or calls using wireless mobile communication networks

In short, a device that can guarantee maximum safety for small travelers.

The sanctions

Anyone who, when the law enters into force, is found without an anti-abandonment device in the car, can incur an administrative sanction that starts from 81 euros and can go up to 326 euros (56.70 for those who pay within 5 days). Also expected deduction of 5 points from the driving license.

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Source: Ministry of the Interior

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