Riverside Police Department

Kaitlyn's Law

In the Fall of 2001 the Governor of California signed into law Senate Bill 255, also known as Kaitlyn's Law. Named for Kaitlin Russell, a six-month old who died after being left alone in a parked car for more than two hours, the law makes it illegal for a child to be left unattended in a motor vehicle.

In accordance with Kaitlyn’s Law, 70% of the proceeds from fines are used for the development and implementation of community education programs on the dangers of leaving children unattended in motor vehicles.

Quick Facts

  • Between 1996 and 2002, 175+ children died of hyperthermia after being trapped in a motor vehicle
  • 90%+ were age 3 and under
  • At least 19+ died this year in the united states
  • 1/3 were the result of children crawling into unlocked cars
  • Children's body temperatures rise 3 to 5 times faster than adults
  • Dangers to children left unattended in cars include:
    • Heat stroke (hyperthermia)
    • Carbon monoxide poisoning
    • Runaway vehicles
    • Carjacking
    • Child abduction
    • Truck entrapment
    • Self-release from car seat
    • Emotional trauma


What should I do?


The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommend following these safety rules to avoid heat-related injuries or other vehicle dangers:

  • Check to make sure all children leave the vehicle - particularly when loading and unloading. Place a reminder, such as a diaper bag next to your briefcase.
  • Never leave a child in a vehicle that is running or with a key in the ignition
  • Keep car keys away from children
  • Don't overlook sleeping infants
  • Teach your children to not play in or around cars
  • Keep fold-down seats closed to prevent children from getting into the trunk


Kaitlyn's Law infographic