The State Senate today unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Killion (R-9) that is intended to save lives by providing immunity to individuals who attempt to rescue children who have been left unattended in hot cars.
Killion said Senate Bill 49 is named in memory of the 49 children who died last year from vehicular heatstroke. It would extend current “Good Samaritan” laws to a person who breaks a window or forcible enters a parked and locked vehicle to save an unattended child’s life.
The law would bring Pennsylvania in line with 20 other states that give immunity to bystanders who help children locked in hot vehicles.
“When it comes to saving the life of a child, nobody should have to think twice. This new law will empower citizens to act without fear of liability when a child’s life is at stake,” said KidsAndCars.org President and Founder Janette Fennell. KidsAndCars.org. is recognized as a national leader for child safety and as it relates to the dangers children face in and around motor vehicles; most commonly in non-traffic incidents.
The PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics also applauded Senate passage of the bill. “The Academy has additional resources for parents and caregivers on protecting children from extreme heat, and encourages everyone to always look before you lock your car,” said Annette G. Myarick, Executive Director of the PA-AAP.
“As an organization with a passion for the well-being and safety of all Pennsylvanians, especially children who are more vulnerable and often the unfortunate victims of trauma, we strongly encourage state-wide prevention efforts that will decrease the number of child heatstroke deaths,” said Krista Brands, CEO of the American Trauma Society, Pennsylvania Division (ATSPA).
“Immediate attention can make the difference between life and death for a young child who has been left in a hot car,” Killion said. “This important piece of legislation will go a long way to help prevent these senseless tragedies.”
Senate Bill 49 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.