WASHINGTON — Systems that could save the lives of children accidentally left in hot cars are one step closer to being available in more vehicles. The move comes after the Federal Communications Commission approved rules to help enable the technology.

“You never think it’s going to happen, just like it’s not going to happen to you,” Pamela Cestia said as she fought back tears recalling the death of her infant son, Thomas.

One morning in 2021, the 2.5-year-old didn’t even vote in the car with his dad, Tyler, so they never stopped at the babysitter. Tyler would find his son unresponsive in his truck several hours later.

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Pamela recalled that the vehicle had a reminder to check the back seat, but no technology that senses or detects life in the car.

“It hurts,” Pamela said. “It’s just crazy to me, as well as heartbreaking, that if the technology is there for something, why aren’t we using it.”

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation said this new FCC ruling expands radar technologies. This helps them put new features in your car. This affects things like airbag activation, seat belt reminders and occupant detection.

“This allows the technology to detect when there is an object and, more importantly, to detect when that object is moving even slightly,” said Hilary Cain, vice president, technology policy, innovation and mobility at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. “So it could be, for example, the chest of a sleeping child… …it can vary again, a sleeping child or maybe a stationary suitcase.”

“Expect to start seeing more and more car companies rely on this radar-based technology for these rear-seat reminder systems in just a few years,” Kane said.

Already this year, at least four children have died in hot cars

“I think my son would still be here today,” added Cestia. “If it could save one life, then I think it would be worth it.”

By Editor