Isn't it illegal to leave a child in a car unattended? I've seen this a couple of times, and it really makes my blood boil.
— Janice, a mom in Medford
Well, Janice, your mom-instincts are right on. A Medford ordinance clearly makes it illegal to leave a young child in a car unattended. Here's how it reads:
"No person having custody or control of a child under 10 years of age shall leave the child unattended in any vehicle on a public street or alley, or a parking area that is open to the public. For the purposes of this section, to leave a child unattended means to leave a child without the custody or control of a person 14 years of age or older."
Oregon law (ORS 163.545) also makes it illegal to leave a child unattended, but the state law requires proof that the child's health or welfare is jeopardized by the action.
The state law says: "A person having custody or control of a child under 10 years of age commits the crime of child neglect in the second degree if, with criminal negligence, the person leaves the child unattended in or at any place for such period of time as may be likely to endanger the health or welfare of such child."
It is particularly dangerous to leave a child unattended in a car when it's hot. In 2013 alone, there have been at least 39 deaths of children reported after they were left in hot cars.
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