Parents of babies and toddlers will be required to use special alarmed child seats under a new law in Italy, in response to a spate of children dying in cars from extreme heat.
Parents who fail to buy the alarmed car seats, or buy alarm attachments, face fines of up to €326 and five points being docked from their driving licence.
If, within two years, a parent is caught again without the special seat, their driving licence will be suspended for two weeks.
The special car seats work by motion sensor and set off audio alarms and flashing lights if a child is left alone in the car. Devices can also be linked to a parent’s mobile phone.
Under the law adopted on Thursday, they are now compulsory for all children under the age of four.
The government has promised to contribute €30 to each family that has to buy the specially-equipped seats, which cost around €100.
It will operate on a first-come-first-served basis, with warnings that there is unlikely to be enough money for every family in the country.
The law was introduced in response to cases of babies and children dying in cars after being accidentally forgotten by their parents or carers during the scorching heat of summer.
It applies not only to Italians but to foreigners visiting the country.
An Italian road safety group said that parents “need to hurry” to buy the seats or fit alarms to their existing seats, or risk fines and the docking of licence points.
Aside from car accidents and collisions, heat stroke is the main cause of vehicle-related death for children under the age of 15, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics.
A small child’s body heats up much faster than that of an adult’s and vital organs start to shut down quicker.