Can I leave my kids in the car while I run in the to pick up my paycheck?

This is issue arises often in the crowded cities of California.  Parking is limited, tough to find and many times very expensive.  There are some occasions where district employees have left children in vehicles while conducting official business due to a lack of childcare.  It is important to have appropriate rules for “children in the workplace” to avoid situations such as these.  If it arises, the sections of code below will apply.

According to the California Vehicle Code, “yes”, you can as long as they are older than 6 years.  If they are younger than 6, then you will need someone who is 12 or older.

While this may be legal to do, it is not wise to do.  All the technology in the world can’t help a 12-year-old or for that matter, a 6-year-old, defend themselves from a violent criminal.

Senate Bill 255 added 15620 to the California Vehicle Code and is referred to as Kaitlyn’s Law.

15620.  (a) 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 either of the
following circumstances:
   (1) Where there are conditions that present a significant risk to
the child's health or safety.
   (2) When the vehicle's engine is running or the vehicle's keys are
in the ignition, or both.
   (b) A violation of subdivision (a) is an infraction punishable by
a fine of one hundred dollars ($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.  Upon completion of that
program, the defendant shall provide that certification to the
court.  The court may, at its discretion, require any defendant
described in this section to attend an education program on the
dangers of leaving young children unattended in motor vehicles.
   (c) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both
this section and Section 192 of the Penal Code, or Section 273a of
that code, or any other provision of law.
   (d) (1) Subdivision (b) and Section 40000.1 do not apply if an
unattended child is injured or medical services are rendered on that
child because of a violation described in subdivision (a).
   (2) Nothing in this subdivision precludes prosecution under any
other provision of law.
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