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The California Unattended Child in Cars Safety Act

The Act is also known as ‘Kaitlyn’s Law’

By Chris Micheli, July 6, 2022 3:55 pm

California has a number of formal acts in statute. Vehicle Code Division 6.7 provides the “Unattended Child in Motor Vehicle Safety Act,” which is contained in Sections 15600 to 15632. Division 6.7 was added in 2001 by Chapter 855. Section 15600 names the Act as “Kaitlyn’s Law.”

Section 15602 specifies that Division 6.7 applies to motor vehicles upon the highways and elsewhere throughout the state unless expressly provided otherwise. Section 15603 provides that the purpose of this division is to help prevent injuries to, and the death of, young children from the effects of being left alone in a motor vehicle, to help educate parents and caretakers about the dangers of leaving children alone in a motor vehicle, and to authorize a monetary fine to be imposed on a person for leaving a young child alone in a motor vehicle in circumstances that pose a life safety risk.

Section 15620 provides that a parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for a child who is 6 years of age or younger may not leave that child inside a motor vehicle without being subject to the supervision of a person who is 12 years of age or older, under specified circumstances.

A violation of this law is an infraction punishable by a fine of $100, except that the court may reduce or waive the fine if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he or she is economically disadvantaged and the court, instead, refers the defendant to a community education program that includes education on the dangers of leaving young children unattended in motor vehicles, and provides certification of completion of that program.

Section 15630 provides that the fines collected for a violation of this division are be allocated by the county treasurer in a specified manner.

Section 15632 requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to include information concerning the dangers of leaving children unattended in motor vehicles, including, but not limited to, the effect of solar heat on the temperature of vehicle interiors and the penalties for noncompliance, in specified materials distributed by the DMV.

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