HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Last year alone 31 children across the United States died from vehicular heat strokes, according to a press release by Pennsylvania Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester/Delaware).
Sen. Pileggi introduced legislation that would allow bystanders to break car windows to save children from a hot car without penalty.
"It would extend Good Samaritan immunity to citizens who come to the aid of unattended child in a locked car, where the person thinks the child is at risk of death or serious bodily harm," the senator said. "For example, when someone sees an injured person on the side of the road, they can come to the aid of that person without being afraid that they will be sued for doing something wrong."
The legislation would extend current Good Samaritan laws to a person who breaks a window or forcibly enters a parked and locked vehicle to save an unattended child's life.
The legislation comes after a video went viral of a store manager in Kansas trying to break the window of a car with a toddler trapped inside. It happened on a day when the temperature was nearly 100 degrees.
"Over the past ten years, 600 children have perished in this way, so it's time that Pennsylvania joins these other states in providing this additional incentive to allow people to know they can do this and come to the aid of a child," Senator Pileggi said. "Sixteen states have a bill or a law enacted that would have the same extension of Good Samaritan protection."
Pileggi said from personal experience and watching the news, everyone from parents to grandparents purposefully or sometimes accidentally forget. "Many times it's accidental when they leave a child in a closed car, not realizing how quickly the temperature can escalate, especially when we have these 90 degree days."
Briana Banks, of York, is a parent who says she never thinks about leaving her kids in the yard. "I would have done the same thing. Because I have a son. First off, you don't leave your children in a car in the blazing heat. It's common sense," she said.
Richard Romberger, of York, agreed. "We need more people like that to stand up and do things that's right," he said.
On average, a child dies every 10 days from heatstroke, according to the senator's release.
The legislation has been referred to a Senate committee and is up for consideration.