- 20 states have Unattended Child
in Vehicle Laws that have specific language addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.
National District Attorney's Association)
States with EXISTING LAWS
- 2 states' (Alabama and
Wisconsin) laws only apply to paid child care providers.
- 2 states' (Kentucky and Missouri) laws only apply if a
child is injured or dies.
- The remaining 30 states do not have laws specifically against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle,
but deaths can be prosecuted under child endangerment,
manslaughter and homicide statutes.
- 14 states have had previously proposed unattended child laws.
A total of 29 states have laws
about leaving animals unattended in vehicles.
- There are 15 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, Nebraska, Nevada,
Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas,
Utah, Washington, Wisconsin States w/
PREVIOUSLY PROPOSED LAWS
: Arizona, Alabama, Georgia
(2004), Kansas, Iowa (2002), Kentucky (2000), Massachusetts
Minnesota (2004), Mississippi (2005), Missouri, New Jersey
(2002), New York, North Carolina, Virginia
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.