Turning Tragedy Into a Cause
Kids and Cars Don't Mix
More Laws Protect Dogs Than Kids
Education and prevention are key to reducing the number of pediatric injuries, Bensard says. Legislation may dissuade some people from leaving their children alone with cars, he says, but mostly it is up to parents to use their common sense.
"Sometimes families don't understand the dangers and implications of some of their decisions," Bensard says. "It's just being irresponsible. We all fall into that trap, and have to be better disciplined."
Only 10 states have laws specifically regarding children left unattended in vehicles, yet most have legislation about leaving dogs in hot cars. At Struttman's urging, Illinois State Sen. John Cullerton, a Democrat from Chicago, introduced a bill earlier this year to punish parents for leaving their kids behind.
Most states, like Illinois, have laws regarding child endangerment, but nothing specifically about cars.
"Children are left in cars and are dying. That is something that is so serious, it needs to be addressed," Cullerton says. "We are working to discourage that type of activity."
Struttman also is targeting legislators in Kansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and California.
"You can't just let [parents] walk away and let them think what they did is OK," Struttman says. "They have to be reprimanded in some way."