Attorney Vered Windman, the head legal adviser for the Israel National Council for the Child (NCC) responded to the tragedy that took place Thursday in Samaria, in which a one-year-old baby who was forgotten in a car for several hours passed away.
"We must not accept these cases," Windman said. "This is not a decree of fate - the responsibility rests with the Transportation Ministry, which is dragging its feet and (still) does not require the installation of the technological means [necessary] to prevent this phenomenon."
There has been an increase in the number of child deaths from being left in vehicles without supervision in recent years. According to the NCC, seven children died last summer after being forgotten in cars for extended periods, compared with two deaths during the summer of 2015.
While a regulation requiring the installation of a warning system to prevent children from being left in school buses has been put into affect since last summer, the Transportation Ministry has yet to pass similar regulations requiring the installation of warning systems into private vehicles.
"We call on the Transportation Ministry to immediately promote a binding norm in the traffic regulations, according to which parents of children up to the age of six will be obligated to install safety measures to prevent them from forgetting or leaving their children," the NCC said, adding that the Transportation Ministry should immediately take additional steps to save children from being left alone in vehicles during the hot summer months.
The ministry should "create a system of incentives to encourage the public to use technological aids, by subsidizing the products or by providing benefits such as reducing the insurance rate [to those who] install these aids," the NCC said.
Attorney Windman said that the ministry has a "duty" to ensure the safety of children as the beginning of summer approaches.
"We repeatedly warn parents to do everything necessary to prevent their child from remaining in the vehicle after they leave. It does not matter if the window is left open or a vehicle is driven and the air conditioner is working, leaving a child in the car is life-threatening and also constitutes a criminal offense," she added.