Iowa laws on saving kids and pets from hot cars - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa laws on saving kids and pets from hot cars

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(KWWL) -

You hear about it all too often, a child left locked inside a hot car.

Sweltering heat. 80 degrees, but the temperature inside the car is almost double. Now imagine sitting in a car of 160 degrees. 

Experts say children body temperatures heat up faster than adults, and the results can be deadly.

Often times people also leave their pets in the car.

"Well dogs are not people but they sure deserve consideration," said dog owner Gary Woods.

That's why Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed a bill into law that protects a person who breaks into a hot car from being forced to pay for the damage of the vehicle. 

The bill allows people to force their way into a locked vehicle if police are not able to get there in time.

The law does come with some limitations.

The person must call 911, they must check to see if the door is unlocked and if they feel it is an emergency they can break into the vehicle.

In Iowa, there is no Good Samaritan law, that protects people form breaking into hot cars to save a kid or pet, so that's why police say to call them first. There are only child endangerment and animal cruelty laws.

"Well we want people to use common sense and you know use their discretion and try to make their best judgment whether it's safe or not," said Cedar Falls Assistant Police Chief Craig Berte. " And when in doubt always just call 911 and have a police officer respond to that location."

In these summer months Berte says these calls are happening weekly. 

So what should you do?

As a father and pet owner, Berte says bottom line use your best judgment. 

Police say if you take action, the owner may be able to take legal action against you. They say whether you're held responsible will depend on how severe the incident was. If it was unnecessary to break in, you could be held for the damage. 

Police do stress if it is an emergency and you see the child in distress, then take action right away.

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