You can face child endangerment charges if your actions cause child abuse. Leaving a child in a car in situations that present possible harm is unlawful in some states. In Colorado, there are no specific laws that govern leaving a child in a car but there are laws applicable in the area of child abuse.
Here are more details about your responsibility as a parent when it comes to leaving kids in cars.
Each state defines child endangerment its own way. According to Colorado statute 18-6-401, if you place a child in a situation that can cause harm to the child, you can be guilty of child abuse. If you are legally responsible for a child and you willfully cause or allow them to suffer, you can be charged with a felony or misdemeanor.
Many times child endangerment is considered a misdemeanor. It can be upgraded to a felony charge if the child has been seriously injured as a result of being left unattended in a vehicle.
If a one-year-old child dies as a result of being left in the car with 100-degree temperatures and the windows rolled up, the person is charged with class-two felony child abuse that carries 8-24 years of imprisonment.
If parents leave their child in a car but don’t have any intent of harm and that child dies, it is considered a class-three felony that has a penalty of 4-12 years of imprisonment. If any kind of negligence causes serious injury to a child, it is a class-four felony.
If the injury is not considered serious, you can be guilty of class-one misdemeanor. When you leave your child in a hot car without air conditioning, even if there is no harm to the child, you can be guilty of class-two misdemeanor. In case of misdemeanors, you are charged with fines rather than imprisonment.
Avoid Leaving Children in a Car
Always be aware of the temperature when you have a small child in your car. Leaving an infant in a car during hot temperatures can be fatal. It’s best to make sure young children are supervised at all times, so that they are prevented from crawling out of windows.