“I’m here to talk about prevention and to help other people,” said Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, of Ridgefield.
In 2014, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz lost her 15-month-old son, Benjamin, after her husband left him in a hot car while at work.
“It took me years to forgive my husband and I in no way want to lessen his responsibility for this tragedy. However, I often look back and think if our car had this technology in 2014, would Ben be alive today? And the answer is yes,” Rogers-Seitz said.
Rogers-Seitz is advocating for increased technology in cars. In 2021, the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seat (HOT CARS) Act was signed into law. The legislation requires new vehicles to be equipped with an alert for drivers to check the rear seat after the engine is off.
Next week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal plans to introduce a second bill, with bipartisan support, that would mandate new vehicles to have detection technology. This means an alarm system would go off if the weight of a child is detected.
“A computer chip installed in the vehicle that could detect the slightest movement of breathing, it could tell if a sleeping baby is under a blanket and their chest is moving up and down,” Rogers-Seitz said.
Every year, 38 children lose their lives in hot cars on average, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Cars can heat up 20 degrees in only 10 minutes. Kids are not able to regulate their body temperatures the same as adults,” NHTSA Occupant Protection Director Robert Ritter said.
“The heat doesn’t get absorbed as quickly into things like fat, and muscle and bone tissue because there is less of that in kids. So, it goes right to their core temperature — their temperature could rise a lot faster,” ProHealth Physicians Pediatrician Dr. Joy Hong said.
Experts say it’s important to check the rear seat before exiting a car. They suggest leaving an item next to a child, such as a cellphone, purse, or even a shoe. Lastly, it’s important to lock your car after exiting so an outside child does not enter and become entrapped.
Each year, the CT DOT launches a campaign “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock.”
Spokesperson Josh Morgan said even on a spring day like Friday, leaving a child in a car could be fatal.
“Even though it’s a beautiful day, we are standing outside, it’s mid 60-s for someone inside their vehicle in 20 minutes it’s going to be over 90 degrees,” CT DOT Spokesperson Josh Morgan said.