Immediate awareness supplements industry’s landmark voluntary agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 29, 2021 – The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Auto Innovators) is joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and industry stakeholders to raise awareness of heatstroke and the risk it poses to children left unattended in vehicles.   While the issue is a concern year-round, NHTSA has proclaimed May 1 as “National Heatstroke Prevention Day,” which will include renewed attention to additional awareness efforts. 

Regardless of the season of the year, it is never safe to leave a child unattended in an automobile.  NHTSA research indicates over half of heatstroke fatalities are attributable to a parent or caregiver forgetting a child in a vehicle.   

“We know that public awareness campaigns are critical to helping prevent heatstroke,” said John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. “As our members continue work alongside government and safety advocate partners to continue raising awareness of this critical issue to help save lives, we encourage anyone who sees a child left alone in a vehicle to dial 911.”

Last year, Auto Innovators released survey data around Americans’ awareness of pediatric heatstroke risks. Findings included:

  • –      Parents and caregivers are hearing more about the dangers of heatstroke to children left alone in parked, locked cars. Between February 2014 and August 2018, awareness of the problem rose by 20 percent, from 69 percent to 89 percent.
  • –      People are more willing to intervene when they see another child left alone in a car. The most recent data show that eight in 10 would take action, including calling the police, confronting the parents, or smashing the car window.
  • –      Nearly six in 10 parents and caregivers take specific steps to make sure a child is not left unattended in a car by mistake in warmer months.

The kickoff of this year’s campaign reinforces the commitment by Auto Innovators – whose members produce 99 percent of new vehicles sold in the United States – to work with other stakeholders to enhance child safety and combat the dangers of vehicle heatstroke. That includes a voluntary commitment among automakers to installing a Rear Seat Reminder System in all covered passenger cars and light trucks no later than Model Year 2025.  These systems will provide a distinct combination of audible and visual alerts whenever there is the potential presence of an occupant or occupants in a rear seat.

For more, visit NHTSA’s website on steps to avoid heatstroke.

Learn about the industry’s voluntary commitment here.