Senator Martins' Bill to Protect Childen Left Unattended in Motor Vehicle Passes Unanimously

Jack M. Martins

April 17, 2013

The New York State Senate passed a bill that would require children under 8 years old not be left alone in a car without supervision of someone twelve or older when the conditions present a significant risk to the health and safety of a child. The legislation, (S.306) sponsored by Senator Jack Martins (R-C-I, Mineola), is intended to keep young children safe when conditions, such as hot and cold weather, present a risk to safety of the child.

"Leaving a helpless child behind, alone, in a vehicle for any length of time is dangerous, period,” said Senator Martins. “We owe it to our children to hold irresponsible parents accountable. This bill does that."

Between 1998 and 2004, more than 200 children died after being left in hot cars. Studies show that when outdoor temperatures reach between 70 and 96 degrees, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise more than 40 degrees in an hour. Cracking the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car.

Parents should be aware of the risks of leaving children alone in hot or cold cars, even for a short time. If parents or guardians knowingly leave their children alone in a car, they can be charged with a misdemeanor.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.