On average, 37 children and over three dozen animals die in a hot car each year in the United States. Hot car-related deaths and injuries are 100 percent predictable and 100 percent preventable.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) of Kansas, KidsAndCars.org and Safe Kids Kansas (sponsored in part by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment) joined together on Monday, June 25, to discuss the new law that goes into Sunday, July 1. It passed during the 2018 Legislative session. The Hot Cars Law gives good Samaritans in Kansas the legal right (under certain conditions) to break a window to help a vulnerable person or animal trapped inside a hot car. On a 90-degree day, the interior of a parked car can soar to over 115 degrees within 15 minutes. Cracking a window has been proven to not help. Experts say that the most dangerous mistake a parent or animal owner can make is to assume leaving a child or animal alone in a parked car is a safe option, even for just a few minutes. Already this year, there have been 18 confirmed child deaths in hot cars. A child’s body can overheat three to five times faster than an adult’s, and since animals cannot sweat the way we do, they are unable to regulate their internal body temperature as effectively. An animal or child can sustain brain damage, organ damage or failure and death from a vehicular heatstroke within minutes of being trapped. The new law will empower the Kansas community to act fast and safely to help rescue a vulnerable person or animal trapped in a hot car. Before you can exercise your right to intervene, the following must be checked:
• Is the car locked?
• Is the person or animal in imminent danger?
• Have you notified local law enforcement?
• Are you using reasonalble force to break entry?
• Can you remain with the person or animal until law enforcement arrives?
• Is the animal in question domestic? The law does not apply to livestock animals.
Kansas joins 21 other states that protect good Samaritans from legal retribution for assisting people or animals in imminent danger when trapped in a hot car.