Thursday, March 22, 2007

Leaving a child in a car alone

Never leave a child in a motor vehicle for any length of time. If children are trapped inside cars, especially during seriously hot weather, it can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, leading to permanent disability or death in a matter of minutes. Heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, can cause shock, seizures, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and damage to the brain, liver, and kidneys. There is a law for leaving a child in a vehicle -- Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, Section 10 LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE. A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is: younger than seven years of age; and not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older. An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor. I f the child is injured, the charge is then elevated to child endangerment, which is a felony. The penalties are six months to two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000. Leaving a child unattended in a car is also a form of neglectful supervision. What is neglectful supervision? Answer: Adults who are attentive and aware of children's behaviors are in the best position to safeguard their well-being. When children are not adequately supervised, it may be considered “neglectful supervision”, which means: Placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child's level of maturity, physical condition or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or substantial risk of immediate harm to the child. Neglectful supervision is also defined as: Placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child.

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