SPOKANE-- It may seem like common sense, but area law enforcement say they still see it, sometimes on a weekly basis.
As it turns out, though, the law regarding leaving kids and pets inside hot cars could be blurry.
It can be a big process to unpack kids just to pop in the grocery store. Many parents know the moment when they think they can run an errand just for a minute, but the sheriff’s office says on hot days, temperatures can be more than 20 degrees hotter than it is outside.
Even leaving the air conditioner on is not enough. Leaving a child in a car while it’s running is illegal. If it’s off, it’s technically not against the law, but law enforcement decides a car is too hot or too cold, it could mean a charge of neglect.
Some parents say the consequences of leaving a child behind can be severe, even when temperatures are comfortable.
“It’s like leaving a piece of my heart behind. He could get kidnapped. He could fall out of the car,” mom Katie Powell said.
It is illegal, no matter what, to leave a kid younger than 12 inside a car to go in a liquor store or bar. The punishment can be up to one year in jail.
The sheriff’s office says these calls are a top priority. Deputies say on hot days, they will break a car window if the driver is not immediately located.