Getting out of a car and forgetting about the child left inside is going to become a thing of the past in Italy. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport has enacted a decree to supplement Article 172 of the New Highway Code in order to make it compulsory for child restraint systems to feature a baby alarm for children under the age of 4, as announced by the Ministry itself.
This obligation will enter into force as soon as the decree is published in the Official Gazette in the next few days. Possible tax relief options to encourage users to purchase these devices is also being studied. According to various media outlets, child car seat manufacturers will now be working to equip their child seats with these devices.
Italy is clearly a pioneer of these kinds of measures. Leaving a child alone in the car can have extremely serious consequences as they can potentially die of heat stroke. With an outside temperature of 25 degrees, 10 minutes is enough time for a child to suffer heatstroke inside the car, as highlighted in the report ‘Children in vehicles and heatstroke in infancy', by the Spanish Pediatric Association (AEP) and Fundación MAPFRE. In fact, it doesn't even need to be a particularly hot day. At a moderate temperature of just over 20ºC outside, the temperature inside the car can easily surpass 40ºC, putting a child's life at risk.
There are currently several different options on the market that are attempting to prevent this from happening. These include systems that can be installed in the child seat which warn you if there is a child in the seat and the adult has moved away from the vehicle as well as cell phone apps that send you a message when you leave the vehicle to remind you of the child's presence. In a previous article we discussed the need to make these kinds of systems compulsory and outlined Italy's plans in this regard.
According to several media outlets, child car seats manufacturers are now working to fit their seats with these devices.
In this video we outline the reasons why you should never leave a child alone inside a car:
ADVICE IN ORDER TO AVOID LEAVING A CHILD ALONE IN A VEHICLE:
Being in a hurry, daily stresses, or not usually taking children by car... There are so many reasons why someone might forget that there are children inside the vehicle. In order to prevent this from happening, you can follow these recommendations:
-Remember the acronym ‘AAA’:
- Anticipate the situation and never leave a child in the car, even for a minute, making sure to lock the vehicle so they cannot get in.
- Accustomize yourself and create habits or routines. Put some kind of object or item in the back of the car next to your child. Putting something they might need when you reach your destination usually works. Naturally, the object should not be anything that could pose a danger in the event of braking sharply.
- Take action. Call 112 if you see a child alone in a car.
-Teach children that they must not play inside or in the immediate vicinity of cars.
-Keep vehicle keys and remote controls out of the reach and sight of children. This prevents them from getting into the car without your knowledge.
-Close the vehicle, including doors and the trunk, when they are not in use.
-Take extra precautions such as creating additional reminders or alarms on your cell phone reminding you that you have taken the child to the nursery or school or set up a procedure with the school whereby if your child arrives late they will call you to let you know.