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Don’t Leave Your Child in a Car Unattended

children in car

What Is Kaitlyn’s Law?

It’s summertime, and as a result, it’s hot. Temperatures are rising to triple digits, and while you may be encouraged to go to the beach, swim in the lake and relax outside, our attorneys encourage you to learn about a very important law first.

It could save your child’s life.

Kaitlyn’s Law was signed into law in 2001 on behalf of Kaitlyn Russel, a six-month-old child who died after being left unattended in a parked car for over two hours. As a result, Senate Bill 255 was passed, making it illegal to leave a child who is age six or younger in a car by themselves.

Under California Vehicle Code 15620, the following rules apply:

A parent, legal guardian, or another person responsible for a child who is 6 years of age or younger may not leave that child inside a motor vehicle without being subject to the supervision of a person who is 12 years of age or older, under either of the following circumstances:

  • Where there are conditions that present a significant risk to the child's health or safety.
  • When the vehicle’s engine is running or the vehicle's keys are in the ignition or both.

A violation is an infraction punishable by a fine of $100.

It may seem silly to remind you not to forget your child in a car, but you’d be surprised to learn how often this happens. In 2019, 52 hot car deaths occurred, while a record of 53 hot car deaths occurred in 2018, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Further, 54% of hot car deaths occurred because a child was forgotten, but 25% of such deaths occur when children get into unattended vehicles by their own will.

Our criminal defense attorneys want to gently remind you that anyone can be affected by Kaitlyn’s Law. As crazy as it sounds, you can forget your child in a car by accident, and your child may get up to no good and access your vehicle without you knowing. As such, be mindful and aware of where your child is, especially during the hot summer months. To learn more, contact (805) 467-6060!

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