5OYS: What is the law regarding a child left inside a hot car?

Local News

DES MOINES – An Iowa man has been charged with two counts of child endangerment for allegedly leaving his two children unattended in a hot car while he went inside a store.

This case, plus the case of a little girl in Sioux City who died in the hospital after she was left inside a hot car, are raising questions about Iowa’s laws regarding this type of behavior.

“If you look in a window and see a child that’s in serious distress, I don’t think we’d have an issue of you breaking out the window to help that child,” said Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department.

Iowa does not have a law that specifically addresses children left inside cars. If someone is deemed to be responsible for leaving his or her child inside a hot car, the prosecuting attorney will likely charge the parent with child endangerment or neglect or abandonment of a dependent person.

So far this year, 17 children have died from vehicular heat stroke.

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