Breaking into a hot car to save dog, child will not land you in jail

KTVL/Autumn Robertson

The average number of child heat stroke fatalities per year since 1998 is 37, and 29 children left in a hot car have died already this year. As a reminder, if you see a child or dog in a car, you can physically help rescue them. According to Oregon law, House Bill 27-32 states bystanders who try to save a child or animal stuck in a hot car will not be liable to those damages.

Sargent Eric Henderson says because of hot car awareness, it's a slight issue on top of others that law enforcement has to deal with during the hot summer months.

"This week, it's been in triple digits. And what would be a normal case for us to handle when the weather's normal is kind of a much greater problem."

It's still an issue many people simply can't grasp, however. Providence Medical Center conducted a heat demonstration on the top of their parking garage Thursday to demonstrate what dangerous temperatures a car can reach during a heat wave. Temperatures inside the car averaged around 120 degrees Fahrenheit , but some parts of the car reached temperatures above 155F.

Doctor Aaron Williams, sports medicine physician at Providence, says the medical center is still treating people for heat related illnesses daily, because some can not get acclimated to the heat.

Ultimately, the threat alone will help people think twice before they walk off without their little one.

"People who choose to leave their children or animals in a car, they can kind of expect their windows to be damaged when they get back to the car, and law enforcement is going to be standing their waiting for them," says Sgt. Henderson.

Detailed information on what you can and can not do while rescuing a trapped child or dog in a car is located in the bill above. If you spot a someone in a hot car, remember to call 9-1-1 first, then check to see if the car is unlocked before trying to break and enter.

More information regarding heat related illnesses is located on our website.

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