Why do people leave a young child unattended in a car? The most common reason is that loving parents/caregivers have simply forgotten the child was in the car. And sometimes, a child crawls unnoticed into a car.
What is Kaitlyn's Law? Since 2001, it has been illegal in California to leave a child age 6 or younger inside a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years old. The law is named for 6-month-old Kaitlyn Russell, who died from heat related causes after being left alone in a car. What can happen to a child left unattended in a car? On average, 37 children die each year from heat-related deaths after being left inside motor vehicles. Sadly, as of December 2017, 43 kids nationwide have perished this way!
How long does it take for the inside of a car to heat up? Within just 10 minutes the temperature inside a car can rise to 20 degrees higher than the outside air. So if it is 100 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can hit 120 degrees in that time. Those were the conditions under which Kaitlyn died.
Is it okay to leave a child in car if:
Parent/caregiver has visual contact with child? NO.
Car is on your driveway or street outside your house? NO.
It is only for a few minutes? NO.
It is not hot outside? NO.
What are the consequences to the caregiver/parent? A monetary fine or possibly jail time.
What do I do if I see a child left unattended in a car?
Seconds count! Call 911 immediately.
Alert the parent/caregiver and a security guard if they are nearby.
Check the door. If it is unlocked open the door. If it is locked, talk to the child with a comforting tone and ask the child if they can unlock the door.
What are some tips to keep a child safe?
No matter how rushed you are, be sure to look in the back seat every time you leave your car.
Don't overlook sleeping babies and backwards facing car seats. Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. After putting your child in the seat, place the stuffed animal in front with you to remind yourself.
Place your purse, briefcase, or cell phone in the back seat.
Share these tips with everyone you know who cares for a child (parents, grandparents, babysitters, friends).
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