Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that the New York State Senate passed legislation he sponsored that would charge a person with endangering the welfare of a child if they leave a child under the age of seven unsupervised in a car when conditions present a significant risk to the health and safety of the child. (S.6289)
The Senator was first made aware of the need for this critical legislation by Dutchess County Legislator Marcus Molinaro and George Lithco of the S.K.I.P.P.E.R. Initiative.
There have been 230 reported deaths of children who have died of hyperthermia from being left in cars between 1998 and 2004. By mid-summer in 2005, an additional 19 deaths were recorded as a result of hyperthermia. Studies have indicated that when outside temperatures range from 72 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle rises approximately 19 degrees in ten minutes, 29 degrees after 20 minutes, 34 degrees after 30 minutes and 43 degrees after 60 minutes. It has been found that cracking a window has very little effect on the car’s inside temperature.
"We have all heard of tragic cases where a young child was left unattended in a car that became so hot that it resulted in the loss of the child’s life," said Senator Saland. "While many people are aware of this danger and would never leave chldren unattended in a car, our intention is to be absolutely certain that the message is clear. It is never safe to leave a young child alone in a car."
Additionally, the senate passed a comprehensive package of legislation to protect children from abusers, including "Nixzmary’s Law," named after the seven year old Brooklyn girl who was brutally beaten to death last month.