Leaving Kids in Cars Could Be a Crime

ALBANY -

The New York State Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would require children under eight years old not to be left alone and unsupervised in a car when the conditions present a significant risk to the child’s health and safety.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Jack Martins (R-C-I, Mineola), is intended to keep young children safe in dangerous conditions, such as hot and cold weather.

“Leaving a helpless child behind, alone, in a vehicle for any length of time is dangerous, period,” said Senator Martins. “We owe it to our children to hold irresponsible parents accountable. This bill does that.”

Between 1998 and 2004, more than 200 children died after being left in hot cars. Studies show that when outdoor temperatures reach between 70 and 96 degrees, the temperature in the interior of the car can quickly rise more than 40 degrees in an hour. Cracking the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car.

At present, parents or guardians who knowingly leave their children alone in a car can be charged with a misdemeanor.

The bill passed the Senate and was sent to the Assembly.