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What an odd condition of the law! - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
What an odd condition of the law!
Yamaraashi-chan yesterday asserted that it was "illegal" for me to leave her in the car. I asked her if she knew there was such a law in Washington State, or if she had just heard this third-hand. She was sure it existed.

Well, I went and looked it up.
RCW 9.91.060: Leaving a child unattended in a parked vehicle.


Every person having the care and custody, whether temporary or permanent, of minor children under the age of twelve years, who shall leave such children in a parked automobile unattended by an adult while such person enters a tavern or other premises where vinous, spirituous, or malt liquors are dispensed for consumption on the premises shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
I wonder why the "condition" is there at the end? I would bet most kids who've died baking in a car were left there by someone who was forgetful for some reason other than drink.

It's also illegal to leave a child in a car if the motor is running.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: Linkin Park, By Myself

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Comments
intrepid_reason From: intrepid_reason Date: April 6th, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
"It's also illegal to leave a child in a car if the motor is running." That's a good thing, because as a child of 4 or so I put the car into gear and off it went down the road then into a ditch, hitting a tree in the process.
mundens From: mundens Date: April 6th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even over here in New Zealand there are parents who drive down to the pub on a Saturday afternoon, leave their children, sometimes babies, in the car, and drink all night and then drive home.

I suspect that the law is as much designed to preempt the "drive home drunk with your kids" bit as it is to prevent the "leaving in the car" bit. Sure you can charge them with drunk driving if you catch them afterwards but the kids are already at risk then, so it's probably better to come up with a way of allowing law enforcemnt to preempt it when they cruise past a bar carpark at night.

I don't think we need a specific law over here, because they can be charged under general negligence laws, but I can understand some state legislator gettng irate at a specific occurence and drafting your law.

Whereas leaving the kids in the car while popping into the corner store to pick up a bottle of milk and a loaf of bread is just efficient, so if some condition on the law didn't exist, that would also be illegal.

Note your law specifically doesn't make it illegal to pop into a bottle store and pick up some drinks to take away, which is good, as one _can't_ take ones kids into a bottle store, as if the laws governing them are anything like what they are over here, it it is a licensed premise which only those over (what ever your drinking age is) can enter.
(Deleted comment)
kingfox From: kingfox Date: April 6th, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, crap, I need to get me one of those anti-theft devices you call kids!
elfs From: elfs Date: April 6th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not that I'm going to argue with you, necessarily, but as a tangent...

I haven't left my kids in the car. Yamaraashi-chan merely expressed an interest in not going with Omaha into a store, and since I was going she said, "But you can't leave me here by myself. It's against the law."

Omaha said, "Well then, I guess you'll just have to come with us then. But who told you it was against the law?" Since it was a matter of some discussion last night, I chose to look it up.
mathochist From: mathochist Date: April 20th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was told it was illegal by a cop outside a gas station back when I had three smalls in the car (two of them asleep) and was standing beside my car trying to figure out how I was going to pay for gas, back before there were at-the-pump ATM swipe machines. So either something has changed since then, or it was a local law (not statewide). At any rate, it's still a bad idea.
elfs From: elfs Date: April 20th, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
As surprising as it may sound, sometimes cops don't know the law. They may have "just heard," it may be "common knowledge," or whatever. Or, even more surprising, sometimes they just make stuff up because they don't expect you to know what the law really says and they think it's a good idea.

mathochist From: mathochist Date: April 20th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was told it was illegal by a cop outside a gas station back when I had three smalls in the car (two of them asleep) and was standing beside my car trying to figure out how I was going to pay for gas, back before there were at-the-pump ATM swipe machines. So either the cop was wrong, or something has changed since then, or it was a local law (not statewide). At any rate, it's still a bad idea.
drewkitty From: drewkitty Date: April 6th, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
My people in parking lots see variants on this all the time. As far as I know, there's no specific code section in California except the catch all of child endangerment.

1) Kid in vehicle with engine running.

Watch vehicle to prevent theft. If theft is attempted, call out "There's a kid in the car!" If driver is not back in 2-3 minutes, locate and advise driver. Noncompliant? Call police: felony child endangerment, possible for kid to put vehicle into drive; carbon monoxide poisoning; potential theft of vehicle.

2) Kid left in vehicle in hot weather >5 minutes.

Locate and escort driver back to vehicle. Building page. Noncompliant? Call police: felony child endangerment. If child is in distress, call police and paramedics. If emergency service response time is delayed, consider persuading kid to unlock door, if not possible - forcible entry. (One of our supervisors was given a Certificate of Appreciation for smashing out a car window to rescue a toddler. Mom threatened to file charges, our supervisor said 'Let's just wait for the police, ma'am' and when police arrived, mom had to be wrestled into handcuffs.)

Note that windows completely rolled down help only a little bit, like propping the door on an oven. Cracking the windows does little or nothing to resolve the life-threatening condition of sticking a kid in a 150 to 180 degree heat oven. Gene police: out of the pool!

3) Pet left in vehicle in hot weather >10 minutes.

Advise driver. If animal is in distress, contact Animal Control. If crowd gathers, call police for civil assist.

4) Kids left alone in vehicle.

Check on kids after 15 minutes and every 30 minutes thereafter, assuming kids are OK at each check. If still left alone after one hour, attempt to locate driver. If unable to locate driver at ninety minutes plus, contact police for civil assist.

Hadn't heard about the tots in bar parking lots bit . . . but given some of the alcoholics I know, makes sense.
dossy From: dossy Date: April 6th, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank goodness for this law, you know, so that when a neglectful parent leaves their kid in a running car and someone comes and carjacks it with their kid in it, the police can arrest the parent -- you know, just in case they're not feeling bad enough already about their car and their kid being stolen.

Stupid laws.
kengr From: kengr Date: April 7th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
A friend hade her kid act up in a restaurant. Since their table just happened to be a window table and their car was parked agisnt that window, she hauled him out to the car. she could see him clearly from the table.

Didn't matter to the cops that somebody called. At least back then (almost 30 years back) they just gave her a warning after making her haul him back into the restaurant.

So, you have a choice between letting kids disrupt things for everyone in the store/restauirant/whatever or going home. And you can't just leave the kid at home without an adult to watch them.

Thus the plague of ill behaved kids in stores and restaurants. Many of the parents don't have a *choice*.

Similar laws are why a friends 11(?) year old kid wouldn't help with packing for an emergency move, wouldn't quit bothering those of us who were packing, and threatened to call the cops if we laid a hand on him to get him to either work or go somewhere else.



Me, w
ladyerin From: ladyerin Date: April 7th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Thus the plague of ill behaved kids in stores and restaurants. Many of the parents don't have a *choice*.

They have the same choice my parents had....don't go out. If they needed to go to the store, one of the parents stayed home with the children, the other went to the store. When they were working separate shifts, so there would be someone home with us most of the day, they left us at the sitter/preschool a few minutes longer so they could stop and get a few things. We didn't go out to eat, we didn't get hauled through a grocery store at 3 in the morning. If we did happen to be out in public and caused any fuss we were taken directly out of the store and taken home....and it wasn't exactly pleasant.

Any child who decides they would rather call the cops than obey their parents should be sent to spent time in Juv. Hall. Let them rot there for a month and see if they don't like the rules at home a little better.

Kids are allowed to run all over their parents these days. Hardly do I ever see children being disciplined or listening to their parents. I was recently walking though Target in the toy section, where I was actually doing research for a paper I was writing. A mother was telling her child to put the toy back and he kept whining at her to buy it. I looked at him, and said why don't you just listen to your mother and put it away....and don't even give me the look like you don't have to do what someone tells you to do.....He actually put the toy away and followed her out of the area. I felt bad for her, and hope I didn't embarrass her too much but geez, it was really making my day unpleasant and I couldn't deal with it.

Currently I will not have children in this society for fear of not being able to raise them properly....which does include disciplining them. I am certainly not suggesting that one should beat their children to get them to behave, but getting odd looks for lightly smaking my nephews hand when he was trying to put his fingers in a light socket proved to me that I just couldn't raise children within the 'standards' of this society.

Ok....off my rant now...honestly.

~E
lisakit From: lisakit Date: April 6th, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
This law simply states that it is illegal to leave the child in the car if you're going into a place where it's possible to consume alcohol. There's no other actual law in the RCW relating to leaving your child in a parked car. It's just common sense not to.

On a humorous note, you also better not hug your sweetie while driving according to RCW 46.61.665
kengr From: kengr Date: April 7th, 2006 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm surprised. There is such a law in Oregon. And in many other states from what I hear. Or if not a "law" it's something that the "Children's Services" folks can use as a justification to take the kid away until you prove to their satisfaction that you are *no longer* an unfit parent...
lisakit From: lisakit Date: April 7th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure what the child welfare laws are. It's possible they are under state agency law (which is different than the Revised Code of Washington). I wouldn't be surprised if our child services used such an action as a proof of negligence, but there's nothing in our codified law other than the one regarding the potential for alcohol consumption.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 7th, 2006 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
The last few cases I remember hearing about (last summer, scattered across the US) of a child left in a parked car which became overheated, they were all infants or toddlers, and there were two major themes. One version was that the parent was supposed to have dropped the kid off at daycare - this was usually done by the other parent, and they actually forgot the child was in the car (asleep); the adult parked the car at their workplace and went inside, and nobody realized there was anything wrong until it was too late. The other version involved a parent who had no one to take care of the child while they were at work, or possibly running an errand; again, they parked the car with a window partially open, intending to check on the child as often as possible, but not knowing how quickly the situation can go bad.

Unfortunately, a blanket law making it illegal to leave any child alone in a parked car under any circumstances would probably cause almost as many problems as it solves...

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