Family Matters: Spotting a child stuck in a hot car
By Wendy Suares
So far this summer, 17 children across the country have died from being stuck in hot vehicles. One of those deaths happened here in Oklahoma. Imagine spotting a dire situation- a child alone in a locked vehicle in sweltering heat. "I would probably call 911," said Kelee Ochs. "Just get help as soon as I could." "I would call 911 and get the police to come help us," said Kathy Richardson. "Even if it was just for a moment. It's not safe," she said. But earlier this week, shoppers in Texas took it a step further. They broke the windows to free two small children, after their mother says she accidentally locked her keys in the car.Safe Kids Oklahoma Executive Director Katie Mueller encourages bystanders to act without hesitation. "Certainly you want to look around and see if the parent is within distance," said MuellerA new law in effect in Tennessee protects bystanders who smash through the window to rescue a child they believe is in immediate danger, only after they call 911 and there's no other way to get inside. Right now it's illegal in Oklahoma to leave a child alone in a car, but there's no law specifically protecting bystanders' actions."It seems that you would have protection in a dire situation like that," said Mueller. "But having something like that certainly wouldn't hurt anything." Last week a man in North Carolina sat in a hot car to demonstrate how excruciating it can be. He posted the video on YouTube in an attempt to prevent another child from dying.Now an online petition is urging the White House to take action to fund research to develop new technology to prevent tragedies and require it be installed in all vehicles or car seats."We have a warning when you leave your keys in the car. We have a warning whenever you leave your lights on," Mueller said. "Their stance is let's have a warning for a child being left in the back of the car." The group Kids and Cars needs 100-thousand signatures in 30 days. You can sign the petition here or learn more by clicking here.
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