- 21 states have Unattended Child in Vehicle Laws that have specific language addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. (Complete List)
However, many of these laws have significant exceptions and qualifiers in their language:
     - Two states' (Alabama and Wisconsin) laws only apply to paid child care providers.
     - Two states' (Kentucky and Missouri) laws only apply if a child is injured or dies.
     - Four states allow a period of time a child may be left unattended before it becomes a crime. Florida allows 15-minutes, Illinois allows 10-minutes and both Hawaii and Texas 5-minutes each.   
     - Washington's law only applies to a running  vehicle or one parked outside a tavern or similar establishment.
     - Rhode Island's law only allows for a verbal warning and no record can be kept!

- The remaining 29 states do not have laws specifically prohibiting the leaving a child unattended in a vehicle; but injuries and deaths can be prosecuted under child endangerment, manslaughter and homicide statutes.


States with EXISTING LAWS: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin

Example of Model Legislation: see Model Law

- A total of 31 states have laws about leaving animals unattended in vehicles. Summary.

- In 2015, a Texas law was enacted requiring hospitals, birthing centers, midwifes and associated medical professions to provide education about "the danger of heatstroke for a child left
unattended in a motor vehicle"
upon discharge from the hospital after giving birth.
- In New Jersey a law that "Requires parent or guardian to notify child care centers if child will be absent; requires child care centers to notify parent or guardian in event of unexcused child absence" was enacted in 2021.


- There are 23 states with "Good Samaritan Laws"
with specific language that protects persons who see a child in a car and take action to render assistance.


2019 - Case Examination of Factors Impacting Charges in Cases Involving Children Left in Hot Cars
McCoy, M.L., et. al.; Poster Presented at American Psychology-Law Society Conference, Portland, OR, March 2019)

- Study of 427 cases "forgotten" and "knowingly left" from 2000 to 2016
- Charges filed in 44% of "forgotten" cases, and 71% of "knowingly left".
- Paid providers more likely to be charges and got longer sentences than parents
- The complete poster can be seen HERE.

2005 - Associated Press (AP) study found "Wide disparity exists in sentences for leaving kids to die in hot cars". It examined both the frequency of prosecutions and length of sentences in hyperthermia death.

- It found that charges were filed in 49% of all the deaths and 81% of those resulted in convictions.
- In cases with paid caregivers (i.e., childcare workers, babysitters) 84% were charged and 96% convicted.
- Only 7% of the cases involved drugs or alcohol.