Leaving children in a car unattended may soon be a crime

Why would you leave them alone in the first place?
Sep 19, 2011

Parent or legal guardians who leave children in a car unattended may soon face stiff fines as a solon recently filed a bill to ensure kids' safety and well-being even inside a vehicle.

Mother-and-son solons Reps. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) recently filed House Bill 5226 that prohibits a parent, legal guardian or any person from leaving children eight years old and below "unattended inside a motor vehicle without supervision by an older person."

According to the younger Arroyo, the measure seeks to instill public awareness about the danger of leaving children unattended inside a motor vehicle.

"There is always that danger when people leave their children unattended inside their motor vehicles, which could result in injuries and even death in some situations," the solon said. "It is really sad that this is being practiced every day for a variety of reasons, not knowing the risks involved. It must be remembered that once a child gets into a vehicle, they are not capable of getting out due to lack of developmental skills."

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Arroyo added that if children are left alone inside a vehicle, they can suffer a heat stroke, accidentally put the vehicle in motion, choke on something or be abducted--preventable incidents that can only result in either harm or death.

In the United States, similar incidents have alarmingly become commonplace, the most recent of which involved a mother who left her one-year old daughter in a car to go to a tanning salon. The car's passenger cabin had reportedly reached a temperature of  57 degrees Celsius before the child was retrieved from the car, 9news.com revealed.

Arroyo believes that through legislation and education, the injuries and deaths caused by the dangerous practice of leaving children unattended in motor vehicles can greatly be reduced.

"Parents, relatives or guardians should always be made aware that unsupervised children inside a motor vehicle pose a grave threat to their safety and unnecessary emotional burden to their families," Arroyo added.

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If passed into law, first time offenders will be fined P5,000 while second-time offenders will be fined P10,000. A fine of P50,00 will be sought from third-time offenders.

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