The Pennsylvania Senate has approved legislation that would allow people to break into a locked car to save an unattended child.

Senate Bill 49 would extend “Good Samaritan” civil liability protections when someone breaks a window or forcibly enters a vehicle.

The measure is designed to reduce heatstroke deaths when children are left alone in cars during hot weather.

The bill’s author, Sen. Tom Killion (R-Chester/Delaware) said 20 other states already have laws to protect people when they enter a locked car to save children from heatstroke.

He said at least 49 children died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States last year.

“Immediate attention can make the difference between life and death for a young child who has been left in a hot car,” Killion said in a statement Monday. “This important piece of legislation will go a long way to help prevent these senseless tragedies.”

The measure is awaiting action in the House of Representatives.