July to Bring Stiffer Penalties for Leaving Kids Alone In Vehicle

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The penalty for leaving a child unattended in a vehicle will increase this summer with legislation signed this week by Governor Charlie Crist.

A law that takes effect July 1 makes it a misdemeanor crime, rather than a traffic infraction, to leave a child under 6 years old in a vehicle without the engine running for 15 minutes or more.

Violators could be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail or a fine of up to 500 dollars.

Under the new law (SB 2), leaving a child under six in a running car for any length of time will still be a traffic infraction, punishable by a fine ranging from 50 to 500 dollars.

The measure also says that parents can't leave children in a car for any length of time if the "health of the child is in danger," although it does not spell out who should decide that.

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  • by Louise Location: Montgomery on Jun 22, 2007 at 02:32 PM
    Let me understand this, it is ok to abandon your child for up to 15 minutes in a car without the engine running and it is a misdemeanor and with the engine running it is a traffic violation. Sounds like the state has its priorities mixed up. IT IS NOT OK TO LEAVE A CHILD IN A VEHICLE PERIOD. Do they not see the dangers in this? Many things can happen when a child is left alone like being kidnapped, sufficate in the heat, if the car is running and the child gets out of his seat and get puts the car in gear just to name a few. Come on people, you need to be more responsible for your children. I know my children are never left unattended, and you shouldn't leave yours unattended either.
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