Proposal would help Good Samaritans who rescue kids trapped in h - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Proposal would help Good Samaritans who rescue kids trapped in hot cars

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Look Before You Lock. That's the name of a new proposal designed to help save children locked in hot cars.

Lawmakers will consider the bill during the 2015 session of the legislature.

Even on overcast days, temperatures inside closed cars can reach dangerous levels in minutes. The new proposal is designed to protect those who take action to save kids trapped in hot cars.

The last death in Kentucky of a child left behind a hot car occurred in Louisville in 2012, but as recently as last month, a Louisville mom was arrested for allegedly leaving her two children in the car while she shoplifted.

"In Kentucky, over the last 20 years, 20 infants, 20 children have lost their lives. That's one a year. That's one too many," said Sen. Jimmy Higdon (R-Lebanon).

That's why Higdon pre-filed the Look Before You Lock bill. It would protect Good Samaritans from liability for damage done when they take action to save a child.

Higdon says the rescuer would first have to believe the child is in imminent danger.

"They have to call 9-1-1 first before they enter the vehicle to let them know the situation -- make sure that helps on the way. Then, thirdly, don't use any more force than necessary," he said.

"Seconds matter in that situation," said Child safety advocate Sharon Rengers of Kosair Children's Hospital.

Rengers hasn't read the bill, but likes the idea, because time is critical. She says the temperature inside a car can rise 10 degrees every 20 minutes.

"If they're scared about busting into somebody's car because they might get sued or whatever, that would certainly alleviate that problem, and know that you just have to get the child out of the car," she said.

The bill also calls on the Transportation Cabinet to launch an education campaign to raise awareness.

"If we prevent that one person from forgetting to get their child out of the car during that hot summer, then I think this bill was worth it if we prevent one fatality," said Higdon.

Higdon is confident the bill - in some form - has a good chance at passage. The first hearing will likely be in January.

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