Tuesday, August 16

Italy wants technology to avoid infant death in hot cars

Italy has demanded that children’s car seats be fitted with an alarm, so parents do not forget they have left their babies strapped inside hot cars, after a spate of infant deaths.

According to a report in Daily Mail, Danilo Toninelli, Minister of Transport, said that by making a minor change to legislation, and enforcing the use of technology, children’s lives could be spared.

Toninelli, in a blog, explained: ‘A small change to Article 172 of the Highway Code can be fundamental to save the lives of our children, to prevent a tragedy from a trivial distraction that marks forever a father, a mother, a family.

Let’s talk about the cases of children forgotten by their parents [left in their] car.’

He said that what started out as a ‘small mistake’ – leaving infants in hot vehicles – could needlessly cost young lives.
But, the minister added, parents could ‘avoid’ such mistakes by ‘just using the existing technologies: for example, a sensor integrated into the seat and connected to the vehicle key or smartphone.’
According to statistics published in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics, ‘every year a lot of children die from heat stroke and hyperthermia because they have been left unattended in closed automobiles‘.

Between May 1 2011 and August 31, 2012, ‘we identified 16 cases of child hyperthermia due to abandonment in motor vehicles’.

In 12 out of those 16 cases (75 per cent), ‘the children were left intentionally in the care; in three out of 16 (18 per cent), unintentionally.’

Most of those who died were aged from three months to three years, and included two 11-month-old twins, the report said. The circumstances in which the children were left in hot vehicles included parents going ‘clubbing’, playing with slot machines, attending parties or going shopping.

Toninelli said in a Facebook post: ‘I’m a father who, like many, lives through complicated and stressful times that can cause distraction.

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