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Boca Raton State Representative drafting bill to make it illegal to leave kids alone in cars

Posted at 8:35 PM, Jul 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 23:40:28-04

On a regular summer day the average heat index is 90 degrees and even in one of the hottest states in the country a Florida law allows parents to leave kids under 6 in a car alone for up to 15 minutes

Any minute after that turns the action into a misdemeanor. A local legislator is fired up about this and is working on a bill to make it illegal to leave your child unattended in a car for any period of time. 

State Representative Emily Slosberg of Boca Raton is working with the Mayor of Coral Springs on the bill. She plans to file it some time next week and believes it could become law by next year.

"I can't see any push back anywhere. I don't see how somebody could defend leaving a child in a car for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, for any amount of minutes," said Representative Slosberg in a phone interview. 

And most parents believe the current law is outrageous too.

"I can't imagine leaving my kids in the car," said Taylor Brittan who said she's lives in Florida for most of her life.

Still, Safe Kids Palm Beach County reports every year 500 calls come in locally of kids left or locked in cars. 

"It's very important that we remove that 15 minutes because there's not even one second that it's safe to leave a child in the car unattended," said Kelly Powell, Program director of Safe Kids Palm Beach County.

After 16 minutes the action becomes a misdemeanor punishable by jail time and a fine. 

But we took a look at what happens to the temperature inside of a car in just 15 minutes. We cracked the windows open, noted the temperature outside was 91 degrees, and placed a thermometer reading 81 degrees inside of the car. After setting a timer for 15 minutes, we watched as the temperature climbed every few minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes, it was 95 degrees in the car. Even with the windows cracked it was hotter inside than outside. 

Children can overheat three times faster than adults. Slosberg hopes the bill will also encourage anyone who sees a child unattended in a car to get involved and call 911. 

The bill will also aim to make parents more aware of not leaving their keys near their kids and make sure their cars are locked once everyone is out to avoid a child accidentally locking him or herself inside. A similar tragedy occurred in Delray Beach just last week.