MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Eleven children have died in hot vehicles during the month of July making it the deadliest month for children in five years but new legislation hopes to prevent those tragedies.
“I have not forgiven myself,” said parent Miles Harrison.
Miles and Carol Harrison always wanted a child. They were overjoyed when they adopted Chase but on a busy 90-degree day in July 2008, Miles forgot to drop the 21-month-old off at day care, leaving him in the back seat of his car while he went to work.
“And it’s heartbreaking because I did it, I killed my son,” said Miles Harrison.
“Nobody thinks it will happen to them, until it happens,” said Carol Harrison.
Chase’s death was one of more than 700 heatstroke fatalities of children left in cars since 1998 – an average of 37 per year. The first seven months of this year have been the worst in terms of heat-related child car deaths since 2010.
“All cars ought to include sensors that can very simply save lives,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
To prevent these tragedies, Senator Blumenthal introduced legislation that would require carmakers to install “sensor” technology, alerting drivers to a baby left in a car seat.
“Consumers should want this product just as they do seatbelts and air bags,” said Senator Blumenthal.
General Motors began offering a similar sensor for some models this year.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says the proposed mandate would miss the car buyers who need it most, “because so few parents of young children buy new cars.”
Senator Blumenthal believes any added cost for the standard feature would be minimal. He says the measure should attract strong bipartisan support, and he hopes to see it on new cars as soon as 2019.