Leaving Children Unattended: A Change in the Florida Regulations


Most people have likely walked past a car with a child or animal inside of the vehicle and wondered whether or not the they were safe inside. This issue is made particularly difficult with the Florida heat, it doesn't take long for an enclosed car to increase in temperature to the point of being dangerous. The temperature can rise rapidly even within a few minutes. Those who are concerned may be happy to know that the government is taking some action on this important topic. All Florida residents should be aware of the changes.

Action by the Legislature

The Florida legislature is thinking about approving a bill that will make it a crime to leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, even if it is only for a short while. Currently, the Florida regulations say that a child can be left alone in the vehicle for around 15 minutes. This regulation applies to everyone under the age of 6. The regulations that are being debated are going to change this to make it a crime if a parent leaves their young child alone in a car for any length of time. This means even if a parent leaves their child alone for a minute, they could be charged with a crime.

The Penalties

With this change, what happens if a parent is found guilty of leaving their child alone? The charge would be a second degree misdemeanor. This means that police officers would have the right to remove the child if they are left unattended for a few minutes but, if officers are unable to find the parents, they could turn the child over to the Department of Children and Families. Through this mechanism, parents could quickly lose their child if they leave them unattended in a vehicle.

Important Thoughts

Parents should always think twice about leaving their child unattended in a motor vehicle. On a warm day, the car's temperature could rise by twenty degrees within just a few minutes. This could make children unsafe in a car within a short time frame. Parents with questions about this new regulation should be sure to speak with an experienced legal professional to learn more.

All parents should be sure to place the safety of their children first and think about the temperature of their vehicle and the safety consequences to their children before leaving them alone. There could be serious consequences.

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