It may seem like common sense, but every year law enforcement agencies answer calls about unattended children in vehicles. The National Safety Council reports that nine children have already died in 2014 from being left in hot cars across the U.S.
An ongoing study by San Francisco State University estimates that since 1998, there have been 615 heatstroke deaths of children left in vehicles, an average of 38 deaths per year. Most of those deaths were children under the age of two-years.
In 2000, Kentucky passed “Bryan’s Law,” which makes a person liable for second-degree manslaughter or first-degree wanton endangerment for leaving a child younger than eight years of age in a motor vehicle where circumstances pose a grave risk of death. The law was named after 11-month old Bryan Puckett, who died July 13, 1999 after being left in a hot car by his babysitter.
KSP spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb says most people know the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car, but each year these senseless tragedies continue to occur.
“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than that of an adult,” says Webb. “The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in 10 minutes. Together, this can be deadly in a very short period of time.”
Kentucky’s last reported death from a child being left in a car was during 2012 in Louisville. The NSC reports that 44 children died last year from vehicular heatstroke in the U.S.
Webb says while a person will face criminal charges for leaving a child in a car, the pain and guilt from making such a mistake will last far longer.KSP asks citizens to keep an eye out for children left in vehicles on hot days and to call 911 if they think the occupant is in danger.
Information provided by Sherry H. Bray
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