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Caregivers Reminded About Risks of Children in Vehicles During Warm Weather


Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania State Police and Department of Health would like to remind parents and caregivers of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles.


Leaving a young child alone in a vehicle during warm weather is not only dangerous, but it also could be illegal. Pennsylvania law makes it illegal for a person to leave a child under the age of six unattended in a motor vehicle that is out of that person’s sight and endangers the health, safety, or welfare of a child. It is a separate offense for each child left in the vehicle.


In addition, Pennsylvania law prohibits the endangerment of children by guardians who knowingly endanger the welfare of a child by violating their duty of care, protection or support. Guardians could face fines or jail time for child endangerment.


“Children should never be left unattended in a car, and the recent high temperatures have greatly increased many of the pre-existing potential dangers,” said Secretary of Health Karen Murphy. “The Department of Health asks parents and guardians to always supervise a child or infant who is in a vehicle. Just one careless mistake with a child in a high temperature situation could prove fatal.”


Additionally, facts relating to the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles on hot days are below:

·        Leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke.

·        Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children.

·        Make sure to keep your vehicle locked when not in use so children can’t get in on their own.

·        Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination.

·        In extreme heat, cracking a window open and parking in the shade are not sufficient safeguards.


MEDIA CONTACTS: Cpl.  Adam Reed, PSP, 717-783-5556 or Penny Ickes, DOH, 717-787-1783


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