Law to protect kids in hot cars takes effect


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A new Pennsylvania law that allows people to break into a locked car to save an unattended child has taken effect days before a three-day stretch of extreme heat and humidity. 

Act 5 of 2019, formerly House Bill 279, is designed to reduce heatstroke deaths when children are left alone in cars during hot weather. Civil immunity will be provided for any damage that results when a vehicle is forcibly entered to rescue someone.

The new law requires a belief that the person in the vehicle is in imminent danger of suffering harm and is unable to exit the car without help.

People would first have to make a reasonable effort to locate the driver, and contact or attempt to contact police or firefighters before entering the vehicle.

Police say if you see a child or animal left unattended in a hot car and they appear to be in distress, notify 911 immediately. 

A 2018 law allows police officers, humane officers, animal control officers, and other public safety professionals to remove a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle if they believe the animal is in imminent danger or harm.

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