Leaving unattended children in a vehicle is illegal

Leaving children in a vehicle is illegal

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Today with a high of 101 degrees, it’s a day where you don’t want to leave your child or pet in the car.

Last year in Lubbock there were three citations given for unattended children left in cars and this is lower than in 2017 when 15 citations were given, according to the City of Lubbock.

So far in 2019, one citation has been given. According to Lubbock Police, leaving a child unattended any time of the year is illegal and is classified as a misdemeanor - no matter the temperature outside.

“So you have actually a misdemeanor offense if you leave a child in a vehicle who is seven years or younger who is not with a person who is 14 years or older and that’s for five minutes,” said Olivia Boggs, an investigator with the Lubbock Police’s Crimes Against Children Unit.

Boggs added if you leave your child in the car for more than five minutes, the charges can go up.

"Then, that can actually bump up to endangering a child, which is a felony charge, and that's just based on the circumstances, so no one case is exactly the same."

She says that an unfortunate event like leaving a child in a car is a lose-lose for everyone, especially the child who is suffering.

“It can be nerve-wracking for a kid who doesn’t understand or who can’t speak or tell you their name.”

So, if you see a child that you believe is suffering in a closed car, make your best, quick judgement right there.

“I wouldn’t say you could just go break the window because you could face liability charges civilly. So if someone says ‘I just walked in, I was in there for 30 seconds and you broke my window,’ it’s kind of a double-edged sword, but obviously if you were there and you see that the child is in dire need, take action and call the police.”

Last year, 52 children died in hot cars.

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