SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — When temperatures reach triple-digits, it’s important to remember that leaving someone in a car can be dangerous — even for a short amount of time.
In California, it is legal for someone to break a car window to rescue a child or pet that may be in danger. Assembly Bill 2717, which went into effect in 2021, exempts an individual “from civil or criminal liability for trespassing or damaging a vehicle when rescuing a child who is 6 years old or younger and who is in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or other dangerous circumstances.”
Temperatures in a car can rise by almost 20 degrees in only 10 minutes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Temperatures can rise that quickly even if the windows are left slightly open.
The National Weather Service said heat-related illness can happen even on days with temperatures in the 70s. The NWS advises people with children to lock cars in their driveways as well.
They warn that children can sometimes wander into unlocked cars in driveways while playing and could get sick within a short amount of time.
So far, this year in California no deaths have been reported connected to a child being left inside a hot car. But in the past five years, a total of nine kids died in the state alone, including a 2-year-old boy from South Sacramento and a 3-year-old girl from Rancho Cordova.