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Consumer Reports Applauds Progress to Help Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars

All automakers should make reminder technology standard, support the Hot Cars Act, says CR

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, on National Heatstroke Prevention Day, Consumer Reports applauded the broader availability of features to help prevent child heatstroke in hot cars, and called on all automakers to make this safety technology standard across the marketplace. Twenty-four children already have died from heatstroke in cars since just the start of 2019, and more than 800 children have died from this preventable tragedy since 1990. On average, a child dies from vehicular heatstroke once every ten days.

Hyundai announced today that a rear seat reminder system currently on two of its models and one Kia model will become standard on most of its new vehicles by 2022. In testing Hyundai’s feature last year, CR’s experts praised the company’s approach, which includes a door-logic reminder system and a more advanced optional system that uses an ultrasonic motion sensor to detect the presence of a child in the rear seat.

Nissan and General Motors also have announced plans to make their door-logic rear seat reminder systems standard on most of their vehicles.

Emily Thomas, Ph.D., Automotive Safety Engineer for Consumer Reports, said, “This heatstroke prevention technology has important implications for saving children’s lives, and it’s encouraging to see automakers making it standard on more cars. We urge every car company to follow suit.”

In addition to evaluating available rear seat reminder systems and informing consumers about them, CR has documented that hot car fatalities are a year-round threat — even in mild weather — and that forgetting children in a car is a common memory failure that could happen to anyone. The organization also has pushed for Congress to require these systems to be standard in all new cars by passing bipartisan legislation known as the Hot Cars Act of 2019.

Ethan Douglas, Senior Policy Analyst for Consumer Reports, said, “Features to help prevent hot car deaths are available and they should be standard on all new cars—that way, all parents and caregivers can have an added way to keep their children safe. We urge all automakers to make this a reality by endorsing the Hot Cars Act of 2019 and pushing for its enactment.”

Contact: David Butler, 202-719-5916, dbutler@consumer.org


Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.