Baby in a car. Illustration
Baby in a car. IllustrationPhoto: IStock

A significant step has been taken to prevent children being forgotten in cars, a phenomenon that has cost too many lives.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation came to a decision today (Sunday) that kindergarten teachers and day care workers will be obligated to call parents and notify them of their child's absence in the kindergarten or day care. They will have to notify the parents within an hour of the start of the day. This way parents will be reminded to think of their children's whereabouts, causing them to think about whether they'd been left in a car.

Though the Committee postponed the debate over the legislation initiated by MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu) by three months, a decision was reached to include the new directive in the Education Ministry's regularly circulated directives immediately, so as to not have to wait for the legislative process to take its course.

MK Shasha-Biton said following the decision: "This proposal aims to enlist the education system in the efforts to prevent this phenomenon. People who are educators need to help take responsibility for our children, and whoever isn't willing to do so shouldn't be in education. This directive has no element of placing criminal liability on kindergarten teachers or caregivers and no absolving of the parents from responsibility. This is a social responsibility incumbent upon us all, and this is another step on the way to eradicate this awful, painful phenomenon."

Statistics from the "Beterem-Safe Kids Israel" organization show that between the years 2008-2016, 400 incidents of children left in cars occurred, with an actual total of 449 children involved. 23 of these incidents resulted in the death of the child. The past two months alone saw a toll of 5 deaths of toddlers left in a hot car.