- 21 states have Unattended Child
in Vehicle Laws that have specific language addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.
States with EXISTING LAWS
However, many of
these laws have significant exceptions and qualifiers in
- Two states' (Alabama and
Wisconsin) laws only apply to paid child care providers.
- Two states' (Kentucky and Missouri) laws only apply if a
child is injured or dies.
states allow a period of time a child may be left unattended
before it becomes a crime. Florida allows 15-minutes,
Illinois allows 10-minutes and both Hawaii and Texas
Washington's law only applies to a running vehicle or
one parked outside a tavern or similar establishment.
- Rhode Island's
law only allows for a verbal warning and no
record can be kept!
- The remaining 29 states do not have laws specifically against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle,
but injuries and deaths can be prosecuted under child endangerment,
manslaughter and homicide statutes.
A total of 29 states have laws
about leaving animals unattended in vehicles.
- There are 16 states with
"Good Samaritan Laws" with specific language that protects persons who see a child in a car and take action to render assistance.
California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada,
Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas,
Utah, Washington, Wisconsin
Model Legislation: see
A 2005 Associated Press (AP) study found
"Wide disparity exists in sentences for leaving kids to die in hot cars". It examined both the frequency of prosecutions and length of sentences in hyperthermia death.
- It found that charges were filed in 49% of all the deaths and 81% of those resulted in convictions.
- In cases with paid caregivers (i.e., childcare workers, babysitters) 84% were charged and 96% convicted.
- Only 7% of the cases involved drugs or alcohol.