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Blumenthal bill requires sensor to prevent hot car deaths

Senator Richard Blumenthal plans to introduce legislation aimed at preventing heatstroke deaths of children trapped inside hot vehicles.  He spoke about the proposal at a Summer Safety Event at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center this week.  His bill directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require cars to be equipped with technology that can alert drivers if a child is left in the back seat once the vehicle is turned off.

 

Blumenthal noted that sometimes parents or caregivers forget.  He cited a Ridgefield case where 15-month old Benjamin Seitz was left in a hot car for several hours when his father went to work.  Kyle Seitz reportedly forgot to drop his son at daycare on the morning of July 7, 2014.

Blumenthal says such technology is available in some vehicles and aftermarket products exist. However, he says it's not widely used.

On average, 37 children die each year after becoming trapped inside overheated cars in the United States. Blumenthal says it can take minutes on a hot day "for a car to turn into a deathtrap for a small child."

 

His announcement came just days after a Bridgeport man was arrested for intentionally leaving his 7-year-old son in a hot car with the windows rolled up while he went shopping.  38-year-old David Angeski told police on Sunday he wanted to teach his son a lesson after the boy refused to go with him inside the Stratford store.  Police found the boy crying inside the car around 6pm.  It's unclear whether he required any medical treatment.  The temperature outside was in the 80s. Angeski was arrested when he returned to the car carrying grocery bags. He was released on a promise to appear in court.

 

A Danbury woman was cited last week for leaving her child unattended in a car.  Someone who pulled in next to 39-year old Kristine Rakowsky's vehicle in the Danbury Square plaza on Backus Avenue noticed the child.  The 3-year old was left alone for at least 10 minutes, though it's not known how long he was in the car before the witness called police.  Firefighters were able to take the child out of the car through an open window, and said he appeared fine.  Rakowsky is due in court July 7th.  

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