Local Politics

Bill would prohibit leaving children unattended in cars

Posted April 28, 2009 5:14 p.m. EDT
Updated April 28, 2009 7:00 p.m. EDT

— Child safety is behind a bill in the state House of Representatives that would make it a crime to leave children unattended in a vehicle.

House Bill 827 would prohibit adults from leaving children under age 9 in a vehicle that is parked in a location where safety is an issue or one left running or with the keys easily accessible.

Anyone in violation of the law would be issued a warning for a first offense and be found guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor on subsequent offenses.

The bill does allow parents to leave children in a vehicle if they are supervised by someone 14 years old or older. Another exception would be if the child and vehicle are in the immediate proximity or line of sight of the adult.

"We just didn't have anything that addressed this," Rep. Alice Graham Underhill, D-Craven, the bill's sponsor, said. "Young children can't get out of the car themselves sometimes, so it's very important that they not be left unattended."

The bill is getting the thumbs up from parents who say it's simply the right thing to do.

"I think it's a great idea, and it's hard to believe it's not already a law," said Alyson Skinner, a mother of two.