Lawmakers to unveil child safety alarm act to help prevent hot car deaths

Safety alarms would be in place by Jan. 2019

By Melodi Smith - Multimedia Journalist , Nadeen Yanes - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - After the death of a three-year-old, Myles Hill lawmakers in Florida want to make sure that there are reliable safety alarms placed in vehicles to prevent children from being left in day care vehicles.

The bills in the Florida House and Senate have outlined the child safety alarm, which would alert child care workers to fully inspect the vehicle for any additional children left in the vehicle.

Myles was found dead on the floor of the back seat of a van outside Little Miracles Academy in Orlando on Aug. 7.

Read the full bill, here.

An autopsy report revealed that Myles died of hyperthermia due to environmental exposure. His death was ruled an accident.

The new safety alarms would be in place by Jan. 1, 2019 and would require Day cares to adopt minimum safety standards and maintain a listing of approved alarm systems. 

Additionally, requirements include annual inspection of the vehicle and holding drivers accountable for children being transported.‚Äč

In 2017, 40 children have died in hot car deaths, which exceeds the number of deaths in 2016, according to Noheatstroke.org, which tracks hot car deaths.

Myles' grandfather, Corey Estes, came to the unveiling event Monday morning and said he supports the bill and hopes it will prevent hot car deaths.

"Something has to be done," Esters said, with tears in his eyes. "I mean they are doing their part, now us as a family, parents, grandparents, the community, everybody has to their part so it don't happen to you." 

News 6 contacted multiple day cares in Central Florida and many directors said they liked the idea of putting in the child safety alarms, but are just worried about the cost. 

Representative Bruce Antone said the alarm add-ons range anywhere from $100 to $700. 

"If this is one piece of technology, whether it's an app, a seat sensor, or whatever it is that we can introduce into this equation that uses technology to make sure no kid is left behind, then we think it's the right thing to do," he said. 

It's something that The Star Child Academy in Apopka is already doing. 

Their new buses come with child safety alarm that forces the driver to go to the back of the bus and press a button within 60 seconds of turning off the car. 

"It's automatic, that's the nice part about it," said day care owner and driver Peter Zimmermann, "We aren't depending on a person to remember."

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