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Unattended Children and Cars 

Identifying the Problem

“It’s such a hassle to get the kids out of their car seats. I’m just going to run in and out real quick!”

“I’ll crack the windows and they’ll be fine.”

“I’ll lock the doors, nothing will happen.”

Many States have laws that make it illegal to leave a pet in a vehicle. Ironically, only a few have laws that prohibit leaving a child in a vehicle unattended. Every day adults place countless children’s lives at risk by leaving them unattended in, or around, automobiles. The cases that are reported typically attract widespread media attention. Accordingly, it is difficult to understand how anyone could be unaware of the risks. Prosecutors should consider filing child endangerment or manslaughter charges in appropriate cases.