Since 1990, when the annual number of vehicular heatstroke victims was first recorded, more than 800 children have died in hot parked cars.
Many of these deaths occurred because parents forgot that the children were in the car. And while automakers offer technology that steers a vehicle or alerts drivers to a car in the next lane, they have not released technology to tell drivers when they are forgetting a child in the back seat.
But congressional lawmakers are now weighing whether to require new cars to include a device for detecting children in the back seat and warning the driver of their presence after the car has been turned off. The requirements were attached to a House bill, passed last month, that is meant to speed the development of self-driving vehicles. The Senate version of the bill, which cleared a committee vote this month, includes an amendment with the warning requirement.