MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Due to the alarming increase in cases of children left in hot cars, a new law being proposed on Long Island aims to protect Good Samaritans from being sued from breaking into a vehicle to rescue a child under 8 years old, CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reported.
Tara Hamilton-Barnett said she would never leave her 3-year-old daughter Rianna in her car alone and she would never stand for letting anyone else do it either.
“I would call the police right away and wait at the car until I saw the parent come, obviously I would try to get in,” she said.
As CBS 2 reported, the dilemma Good Samaritans like Hamilton-Barnett increasingly face is prompting action from Long Island State Senator Jack Martins.
“On July 4th, a Maryland man left his 2-year-old daughter locked in his truck while he shopped at the Walt Whitman Mall. A passerby heard her crying in the vehicle, they rescued her by breaking in, the temperature in the vehicle was over 120-degrees,” Sen. Martins said Thursday.
Sen. Martins is sponsoring a measure to protect Good Samaritans from being sued for any damage done to the car in order to rescue children inside, DuBois reported.
“This bill will allow people to get kids out of cars, break the glass, get into that car and bring the child out and prevent kids from dying from heat stroke,” Sen. Martin told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten Saturday.
“Since 1991, there have been over 750 deaths associated with hypothermia and heat stroke,” Rosemarie Ennis with Safe Kids New York said.
But as CBS 2 reported, the number of child deaths has spiked even further in the last three years: 34 children died in hot vehicles in 2012, 44 child deaths in 2013 and 18 children have died in unattended vehicles so far this year.
If you see a child in distress and can get them out of the vehicle, Dr. Jose Prince advises, “You would try to move them, if you can safely, to a shaded area. If you could wet them or cool them off, that would be helpful.”
Dr. Prince said to immediately call 911 to get medical help.
Martins said he’s reaching out for co-sponsors in the state assembly and hopes his bill can pass once lawmakers return from an August recess.
If passed, New York would be the second state in the country to have a such a law, behind Tennessee.
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