It never fails that every year when the temperatures start to rise, the news begins reporting on children who die because a caregiver or parent has left them in a vehicle. It is common for a parent to say they forgot their child was in the car, so they locked up and wen to work for the day only to return after work to find the devastation. While there is no doubt, this would be a horrifying experience, many people feel parents need held accountable for their actions. Leaving your child in a car in Florida heat should be a crime even if it was not intentional. So, what does the actual law say?
According to WTSP, the law is rather specific when it comes to leaving a child in a car unattended. It says that for a child under the age of six, you cannot leave him or her in a vehicle for more than 15 minutes. It is also important to note that this only applies when the child is left unattended. If the parent or caregiver can see the child, then that is not considered under the law to be unattended.
So, essentially, a parent who leaves his or her child in a car all day could at the very minimum face child neglect charges for leaving the child unattended in a vehicle. Beyond that, though, is a gray zone. Sometimes parents or caregivers do get other criminal charges. Prosecutors generally decide on a case by case basis. This information is for education and is not legal advice.