New Ohio law to help kids, pets locked in hot cars

Within minutes, the inside temperature of a car can reach dangerous levels for children and pets trapped inside.

A new law in Ohio may help save lives by protecting the Good Samaritans who break their way into a locked vehicle. Gov. John Kasich last month signed the bill into law. Here’s a look at why the law is needed, and its limitations.

On average, 35 children die each year, trapped in hot cars across the country. Already this year, 10 kids have died from heatstroke inside a car, including two in the past couple days.

“Inside your car, the heat danger is really a concern,” said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar.

At lunchtime today, it was 70 degrees outside. But inside a car in a Dayton parking lot, temperatures were recorded at nearly 120 degrees. This weekend, highs will be approaching 90 degrees in the region, Collar said.

After 10 minutes in 90-degree heat, temperatures inside a car approach 110 degrees. After an hour, the temperature inside reach more than 130 degrees.

“If a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, that’s the danger zone where their body begins to shut down,” said Jessica Saunders, director of the Center for Child Health and Wellness at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

She said the new law, which takes effect Aug. 29, is crucial for saving lives.

“The good news about this law is similar to a good Samaritan law,” Saunders said. “You don’t have to worry about breaking someone’s window” and later face legal trouble.

Laura Kano of New Lebanon said she thinks the law is a good idea to save the lives of kids and pets accidentally left in the car.

“Busy parents, parents that work third shift and are up in the morning getting (children) ready for school, I can definitely see it happen,” Kano said.

Springfield Police Chief Stephen Moody said before people break into a hot car, they should first call 911.

In fact, that is a requirement of the new law, that the person must call 911, must check to see if any doors are unlocked, and must prove a child or pet is in danger.