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This just in from California Highway Patrol


Posted: July 31, 2012 2:42 p.m.
Updated: July 31, 2012 2:42 p.m.

As the temperature continues to rise, so does the risk of vehicular hyperthermia (heat stroke), especially for a child left inside a hot vehicle.  Regardless of how or why a child is left behind, the end result can be devastating.  To prevent the tragedy of a young child’s death, “Kaitlyn’s Law” was enacted in California in 2002 following the heat-related death of 6-month-old Kaitlyn Marie Russell.  Sadly, Kaitlyn was left unattended in a parked vehicle on a hot summer day.

 “On a typical sunny day, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach a potentially deadly level within minutes,” said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow.  “There is no excuse for leaving a child alone in a vehicle, not even for a few minutes.”

 California law prohibits anyone from leaving a child six years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone who is 12 years or older when:  there are conditions that present a significant risk to the child’s health or safety, or when the vehicle’s engine is running and/or the vehicle’s key is in the ignition (California Vehicle Code 15620). 

 While the law prohibits it, sadly, even the best of parents or caregivers can overlook a sleeping baby in a vehicle; and the end result can be injury or even death.  For this reason, the CHP encourages parents or caregivers to develop a plan, or a habit, which serves as a reminder of where a child is at all times.

 “A few simple precautions can go a long way toward keeping a child safe,” added Commissioner Farrow.  “No matter what the weather is like, or length of time you need to be away from the vehicle, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle is very risky and can result in tragedy.”

Finally, the public is also encouraged to take an active role in safeguarding children who may be left unattended in a vehicle by dialing 9-1-1 immediately and following the instructions that emergency personnel provide.

Note: The Signal delivers press releases from reliable sources under the “This just in” header to provide up-to-the-minute information to our website readers. Information from “This just in” has not been vetted by The Signal news room. It may appear subsequently in news stories after it has been vetted.


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