What should you do if you see a child in a hot car?
More and more lately this has been commonplace in the news, especially with the tragic news story about the guy who allegedly left his son in a hot car intentionally, in Georgia. But this seems to come to our attention every summer, but the big question is “What do we do?” Well, as of July 1, in Tennessee, if you believe a child is in danger inside a car, you have the right to break the window or forcibly enter the vehicle, without liability.
So here in New York, what would you do if you saw a child inside a car on a hot day? Would you call 911? Break the glass if the car were locked?
Astonishingly, last year, 44 children died of heatstroke in vehicles. That is 44 too many. Actually the total so far for this year is 16. Not good track record.
While other states have broad laws that protect Good Samaritans from lawsuits, the Tennessee law is unique in that is specifically addresses kids left in cars. In my opinion, more states will follow suit…and soon.
It has been advised, because of the danger, that people be more aware and proactive when they are out and about. Don’t be afraid to glance inside cars as you are walking into a store. If you see a child that appears to be in trouble, do what you can to assist, even if it means breaking the window.
Not everyone agrees. Often times it is difficult to determine if the child has been forgotten, or if just left in the car while mom runs into the store really quick. With all the press lately, I could see a lot of overreacting and a lot of needless broken windows. Maybe stay by the vehicle to see if a parent returns before making hasty decisions.
Believe it or not, there are still some areas in America where it can be considered ok to leave a minor in the car for a couple of minutes. I sat in the car a few times while mom ran into the bank, we all have, right? Was mom negligent? Of course not. The more the medial hypes the situation up, the more sensitized of the danger we become.
On the other hand, a child is the valuable thing you could ever leave in a car. We don’t leave our ipads sitting on the front seat, so why would we leave a child there?
This could be an ongoing debate.
Bottom line here is that experts have determined that kids can get very quickly when left alone in a car. Heatstroke can happen when the temp is as low as 57 degree outside. Cracking the window does little to keep the car cool.
Maybe consider calling 911 before making the decision to break into a car and double check to make sure there is no other way to get into the car. I would be interested in hearing your opinion on this matter. Please feel free to leave a comment.
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