New law lets you break a window to rescue a child trapped in a hot car

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Leaving children in the car during the sweltering summer can be deadly, but now if you see a child in danger, you can help without risking criminal charges.

The inside of a car left in the sun can get up to 140 degrees. That’s a temperature that could quickly kill a child.

The Shelby County District Attorney’s office and Memphis Child Advocacy Center want to make sure that doesn’t happen this summer.

“Every year we hear the tragic stories, young lives lost,” Virginia Stallworth with the Child Advocacy Center said. “We at the Child Advocacy Center want to make sure that everyone knows the danger.”

District Attorney General Amy Weirich said in April, a woman intentionally left her child inside the car while she was at a Memphis store.

“The woman became agitated and irate that anyone would tell her how to take care of her children,” Weirich said.

Now, thanks to a new law, if you see a child left inside a hot car, you can break the window to get them out.

“It takes somebody walking through a parking lot to feel that they have the strength to do something about it, and they certainly do under the law in the state of Tennessee,” Weirich said.

She added that it’s illegal to leave children under the age of 7 unattended in the car any time of year and said she will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who puts a child’s life at risk.

“When we start talking about children being left in cars and serious bodily injury being inflicted or the worst, death, then it becomes serious felony punishment.”

Weirich said people need to call police before they attempt to break out a window. She also encourages people to call if they see an animal left in a hot car.

14 comments

    • arhillbilly

      That was my first thought also. Law or no law if a child or an animal is left in a hot car, I WILL break out the window

  • Joe

    I sincerely hope the woman who was agitated was declared an unfit parent and had the child removed from her possession. She needs a slice of humble pie in a bad way. Absolutely no accountability and responsibility for her grossly negligent actions.

  • Jacqueline

    i am only 15 but i saw this very graphic but fake little video clip of a little boy probably like 2, 3.. who went to the store with his mom. he was in a carseat and left in the back of the car strapped up in the safety locks. and she got out and locked the car and she went into the store. over time the boy stopped playing with his stuffed animal bear and started to sweat and cry. his mom has stopped and laughed to some people in the store and he was getting louder and louder..a few people has passed the crying baby but then a man who walked passed the truck heard the little boys cry. he looked through the window and the boy stopped crying and passed out.. and he ranned to each door trying to open it. yelling wake up to the boy and yelling for others to call 911. he ranned back to his car and got a crow bar and ranned back and busted the window on the front passenger side of the car and hit it 2 times 3rd try he got it. glass shattered everywhere but he unlocked the car and got the child out of the car. by then the ambulance and police were there and they took the little boy and his mom has finnally came out the store and realised her son was on a gurney. and she was questioned and all that and they arrested her on the spot and the boy was rushed to the hospital. thou it was fake and nobody was hurt in the film. it looked real and it opened my eyes and i got emotional. because these sort of things happen every year and its scary. I saw this video clip bout a year ago one time and I remember its every detail. no child, animal, not even an adult deserves to be in a hot vehicle for over an extended period of time on a hot hot day.

  • Wanda

    If I see a child locked in a hot car, I will call the police….right after I break out the window.

  • Peter

    LAWS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN DO!

    It is the nature of Liberty that you have the freedom to do ANYTHING that is not expressly forbidden by law, that you can do ANYTHING even things that are illegal, but there will be consequences. You don’t make laws that give you rights that tell you what you “can do” because you already have those rights. By making a law that tells you “its ok to do this” you start to build an avenue for the destruction of liberty, and the birth of tyranny.

    If you saw a toddler walking in the middle of a freeway… Would you need a law to tell you its ok to pick that child up and remove it from the road? NO. you would just do it, despite the fact that putting your hands on that child with out the consent of its parents is assault. No police officer is going to arrest you for removing that child from the street. Just as no officer is going to arrest you for breaking a window to save a child from cooking in a hot vehicle. and if the person took you to court for the broken window, as long as you can show the circumstances the judge will probably wish he had the power to give you a medal.

    Instead of enforcing the laws we have on the books, people seek to pass ever more overly specific legislature because people refuse to use common sense! but its even worse when a law is passed solely to give up the ability to do something we already had the ability to do! because LAWS do not have the power to give us rights. once we start giving them such, we risk destroying the system our fore fathers took such pains to create. even the constitution does not give us rights, it recognizes that we have them and it restricts the government from infringing upon them.

    END OF STORY.

  • Peter Brandão Jr.

    LAWS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN DO!

    It is the nature of Liberty that you have the freedom to do ANYTHING that is not expressly forbidden by law, that you can do ANYTHING even things that are illegal, but there will be consequences. You don’t make laws that give you rights that tell you what you “can do” because you already have those rights. By making a law that tells you “its ok to do this” you start to build an avenue for the destruction of liberty, and the birth of tyranny.

    If you saw a toddler walking in the middle of a freeway… Would you need a law to tell you its ok to pick that child up and remove it from the road? NO. you would just do it, despite the fact that putting your hands on that child with out the consent of its parents is assault. No police officer is going to arrest you for removing that child from the street. Just as no officer is going to arrest you for breaking a window to save a child from cooking in a hot vehicle. and if the person took you to court for the broken window, as long as you can show the circumstances the judge will probably wish he had the power to give you a medal.

    Instead of enforcing the laws we have on the books, people seek to pass ever more overly specific legislature because people refuse to use common sense! but its even worse when a law is passed solely to give up the ability to do something we already had the ability to do! because LAWS do not have the power to give us rights. once we start giving them such, we risk destroying the system our fore fathers took such pains to create. even the constitution does not give us rights, it recognizes that we have them and it restricts the government from infringing upon them.

    END OF STORY.

  • Karen Phillips

    People will break the window. The law is to protect those same people later, when the parent is angry about the window.

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