Federal Bill to Protect 'Spots and Tots' Left in Parked Vehicles Is Critically Needed As Fatalities Climb
For Immediate Release:
August 6, 2019
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Washington – Today, PETA sent a letter of support to the national child-safety nonprofit group KidsAndCars.org for drawing attention to deaths in hot cars and working to pass the Hot Cars Act of 2019, which would require automakers to install technology in vehicles to detect the presence of a child or an animal and alert drivers when someone is alone in the back seat. PETA notes that the bill is critically needed, as just a moment of forgetfulness—being distracted by running into a friend, taking a phone call, or being otherwise unexpectedly delayed—can quickly turn fatal for vulnerable children and animals.
“At least 26 children and 30 dogs and other animals have died in hot cars already this summer,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA believes that this legislation will help prevent many heartbreaking heatstroke deaths.”
PETA is also taking independent action with a new ad campaign, “Too Hot for Spot and Tot,” warning people never to leave children or dogs in parked cars on hot days. The group—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to KidsAndCars.org founder and President Janette E. Fennell follows.
August 6, 2019
Janette E. Fennell
Founder and President
Dear Ms. Fennell,
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide to announce our support for the Hot Cars Act of 2019. This summer’s death toll for dogs is beating the ugly records of previous years, soaring just as the temperature is soaring, and children are being left in cars to die, too, so this bill is critically needed to prevent the needless deaths of more children and animals.
As you know, 26 children have already died in hot cars. Also, since 2018, at least 70 animals have died in the same way. This number includes only those incidents reported in the media—so the actual figure is almost certainly higher. It doesn’t take long for parked vehicles to turn into deadly ovens: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a car can soar to 100 degrees in just a few minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Leaving the windows partially open or parking in the shade won’t keep vehicles cool enough to be safe, and dogs are at a huge disadvantage, as they cannot sweat through their skin as humans can.
Infants and children are especially vulnerable to heatstroke because their body temperatures rise three to five times faster than adults’ do and because they’re less able to lower their body temperatures through sweating. Dogs, too, are much more susceptible to heatstroke because they can sweat only through their paw pads and try to reduce their body temperature by panting. They can sustain damage or die painfully from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Heatstroke, damage to organs (including the brain), and death can occur within minutes in both children and animals, so it’s crucial to ensure that they’re never left in parked cars—even for “just a minute.”
We hope this legislation’s passage will prevent heartbreaking heatstroke deaths. Thank you for all that you do to keep cars safe for humans and animals alike.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk