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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 4, 2019 09:23 AM
From: Senator Thomas H. Killion
To: All Senate members
Subject: Preventing Heatstroke-Related Death or Serious Injury To An Unattended Child By Extending Civil Immunity
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation that would prevent a heatstroke-related death or serious injury to an unattended child, by extending Good Samaritan civil liability to a person who, in an effort to save the child, breaks a window or forcibly enters a parked, locked vehicle.

In an effort to save lives, we extend Good Samaritan laws to bystanders in other emergency situations, such as in the case of advanced life support or medical care and assistance. These laws exist to encourage bystanders to help persons in a life-threatening situation; similar to legislation recently signed into law in the form of Act 104 of 2018 and provisions relevant to rescuing an animal from a vehicle.

At least 19 states have Good Samaritan laws for preventing the death of a child, due to heatstroke, in locked vehicles; including Ohio and Virginia.

On average nationwide, every 9 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.

In 2018 alone, at least 49 children died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States. This was the worst year (tied with 2010) in history for child hot car deaths in our country.

Since 1995, 12 children died from heatstroke inside vehicles in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

This legislation will be similar to SB 986 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session which was unanimously approved by the Senate but not considered by the House Judiciary Committee before the end of Session; and SB 782 of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session which was co-sponsored by the following Senators: Bartolotta, Blake, Brewster, Farnese, Folmer, Fontana, Mensch, Rafferty, Sabatina, Vulakovich, K. Ward and Browne.

Immediate attention can make the difference between life and death for a young child. This important piece of legislation will go a long way to help prevent these senseless tragedies.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB49