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Can You Leave Your Child Unattended in the Car?

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We made it through our first big heat wave, so you can rejoice about that. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning and you should brace yourself. You can count on there being more scorching days this summer. Remember to stay extra hydrated by drinking plenty of water and to put on sunblock when you spend any time outside. When you are driving someone in your car, especially your own young children, remember to open windows or turn the AC on. If you have to make a stop, do not leave them in the car alone. Not only is this illegal depending on the child’s age, it is also very dangerous in hot weather.

Vehicles heat up within minutes on hot days. If you think the weather outside is bad, the temperature inside the car is even worse. If you have a young child with you and you need to make a pit stop, bring them with you. It is illegal to leave a child who is 6 years old or younger unattended in a car unless they are supervised by someone who is at least 12 years old. However, even if your child is old enough to legally be left alone in the vehicle, you need to consider if they feel comfortable being left alone, the safety of the surrounding area, and how hot it is outside.

There are a number of consequences the driver can face for leaving their child unattended in a hot vehicle. These consequences include, but are not limited to, fines, jail time, being inspected by social services for child endangerment, and the loss of the child.

Whether it is over 100 degrees or 70 degrees, think of the safety of your child first. Although you may take a few minutes longer during your pit stop, taking them in with you is the safest and most responsible way to handle the situation.