No AR law specifically for kids left in cars alone - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

No AR law specifically for kids left in cars alone

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Arkansas is one of many states that does not have any specific laws concerning children left unattended in cars.

With temperatures heating up this week, it's important for parents to check their car before leaving their child behind. On average, 38 children die every year in hot cars from heat-related deaths according to KidsandCars.org.

There are currently 19 states with laws that specifically make it illegal to leave a child unattended in a car. Both Missouri and Tennessee have laws against leaving children in hot cars, but Arkansas does not.

"We  have a very broad umbrella definition of endangerment to children," said State Rep. Harold Copenhaver. " They dont specifically address this current issue. 

But Copenhaver said he would be willing to amend the current law to address the specifics. This move would give legislators and child advocacy groups a chance to discuss the specifics of the law and the punishment.

"The age of the child, are they able to get in and out of the car, and unlock the door," Copenhaver said. 

Some Region 8 parents feel this offense should be spelled out to protect kids from dangerous situations. 

"The kids can get sick and hurt and the car can be stolen and it just shocks me that there is nothing to protect children from that," said Katy Dillport. 

According to KidsandCars.org, 44 kids died in 2013 from having a heat stroke inside a vehicle. So far, 17 kids have died from a heat stroke this year. It's important for parents to check their car before leaving their child behind. 

To help parents avoid leaving their child, KidsandCars.org suggest putting something you'll need like you cell phone in the back seat, get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination, and keeping a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat when it’s not occupied.  

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