When I first came across the video and the shoe-trick articles, I thought both were superfluous reminders to parents. As are most other reminders we see on television and social media news feeds. This blog post, however, aims to educate you about what is legally permitted in Utah. It goes beyond common sense and warns you of the criminal penalties of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.
In Utah, you cannot leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows rolled down or a door fully ajar, if doing so puts the child at risk of suffering from hyperthermia, hypothermia or dehydration. A person who is responsible for a child can be found guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor if he "intentionally, recklessly, knowingly or with criminal negligence" leaves the child unattended on on public property or private property that is open to the general public, like a parking lot.
Many of my friends have been known to leave a child in the vehicle to "just run in" to a gas station or store. I have been known to do the same thing. Simply put, stop. Your child's health and safety is not worth jeopardizing.
If you have been cited for leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle, contact me to discuss your case and defenses.