KSP Reminds Drivers to 'Look Before You Leave'
By West Kentucky Star Staff
FRANKFORT, KY - As temperatures rise, Kentucky State Police are reminding parents not to leave children alone in a hot car. It may seem like common sense, but KSP says every year law enforcement agencies answer calls about unattended children in vehicles. The National Safety Council reports that nine children have died this year from being left in hot cars across the U.S.

An ongoing study by San Francisco State University estimates that since 1998, 615 children have died of heatstroke after being left in vehicles, an average of 38 deaths per year. A majority of those deaths were children under the age of two-years.

In 2000, Kentucky passed “Bryan’s Law,” which makes a person liable for second-degree manslaughter or first-degree wanton endangerment for leaving a child younger than eight years of age in a motor vehicle where circumstances pose a grave risk of death.  The law was named after 11-month old Bryan Puckett, who died July 13, 1999 after being left in a hot car by his babysitter.

KSP spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb says most people are aware of the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car, but each year these tragedies continue to occur.

“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than that of an adult,” Webb said. “The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in 10 minutes.  Together, this can be deadly in a very short period of time.”

Kentucky’s last reported death from a child being left in a car was during 2012 in Louisville. The NSC reports that 44 children died last year from vehicular heatstroke in the U.S.

Webb offers the following safety tips:

·         Never leave a child in an unattended car, even with the windows down.

·         Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.

·         Always lock your car. If a child is missing, check the car first, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.

·         Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver as a reminder.

·         Place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.

·         Make ‘look before you leave’ a routine whenever you get out of the car.

Webb says while a person will face criminal charges for leaving a child in a car, the pain and guilt from making such a mistake will last far longer.

KSP asks citizens to keep an eye out for children left in vehicles on hot days and to call 911 if they think the occupant is in danger.

Published 01:25 PM, Wednesday Jun. 11, 2014
Updated 02:07 PM, Wednesday Jun. 11, 2014

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