Parent Survival Guide: Mother pushes for bill that can protect kids from hot car deaths

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 7:43 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 7:50 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Erin Holley, a mother of two, is on a mission.

“After this interview, I will be calling Lindsey Graham’s office and Tim Scott’s office and begging and saying this is such an important issue,” Holley said.

Holley along with other parent advocates are pushing to get the Hot Cars Act, which is part of a bigger transportation bill, passed in our state. The act would require car makers to install as a standard in all new cars technology that can detect the presence of life in a vehicle that isn’t running.

The device would notify the driver or anyone close by.

“The technology exists, it’s inexpensive, and finally lawmakers are thinking about putting in place a law that requires automakers to include it and save these children from the unthinkable,” Holley said.

The act has personal meaning for Holley. In 2017, her son Fin was 5 weeks old when she accidentally left him in her car.

“I screamed, ’Oh my God, the baby!’ and raced back to the other car. We called the paramedics and beat them to our car, and when we got there, the car was still cool and she was still sleeping and he was fine, “Holley said.

Fast forward four years and Holley says Finn is now thriving with no memories of that hot June day.

“He’s brilliant and funny, and he has us laughing every day. There is not a night that I’m not grateful,” Holley said.

She says she realizes her outcome is not common. She now uses her voice to stand in as an advocate for other parents and to inform others.

According to Kids and Cars, since 1994, 21 kids in our state have died from being left in a hot car. As a tip, Holley recommends to always keep a purse or other valuables on the floor of your backseat to force you to check.

She says also ask your child’s daycare to always give you a call if your child is not dropped off at a designated time.

“If my opportunity to share my story which ends so beautifully, if that’s a way to create awareness without dreading up so much pain then I’m all in and will answer the call every time,” Holley said.

Holley says the Hot Cars Act, part of the Moving Forward Bill, just passed the House the first of this month on National Heatstroke Prevention Day. The Hot Cars Act is now on its way to the Senate.

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