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CHP highlights importance of Kaitlyn's Law


Last updated 8/7/2008 at Noon

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is warning the public of the dangers of leaving a child alone inside a sweltering-hot vehicle.

“When left in the sun, it only takes a minute for the inside of the vehicle to become like an oven,” said CHP Captain Teresa Sumprer of the El Cajon Area office.

Heat isn’t the only danger; children left in running cars can injure themselves or others by accidentally hitting a gear and putting the car in motion.

“Not only is it dangerous, it is illegal to leave a child in a car,” Captain Sumprer added.

“Kaitlyn’s Law,” also known as the “Unattended Child in a Motor Vehicle Act,” states that anyone who leaves a child age 6 or younger inside a vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 can be fined $100.

To increase awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in or around motor vehicles, the organization 4 R Kids Sake has designated the month of August as Purple Ribbon Month. In support of this campaign, the CHP has affixed a purple ribbon to the antenna of all its patrol cars.

The ribbons are in memory of children who have lost their lives, including 6-month-old Kaitlyn Russell, who died from hyperthermia after being left unattended in a parked vehicle August 15, 2000.

“As a driver, you are responsible for all of your passengers’ safety while the vehicle is running and when it is parked,” said Captain Sumprer.

The CHP urges anyone who sees an unattended child in a vehicle to immediately call 9-1-1.


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