Break into a hot car to save a kid; the law will protect you

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. This week, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has been signing some of the bills that passed the legislature this session.

One, that is geared to protect anyone who rescues a child from a hot car, is still waiting to become law.

"Muscle cramps is going to be one of the first things. Nausea, headache, a lot of excessive sweating," explains nurse practitioner, Esther Myers.

This is what happens to your body when you start to overheat.

As if temperature readings on bank and church signs you see everywhere aren't enough of an indication that it's hot and that you need to be careful. Missouri Department of Transportation's electric sign on Kansas Expressway reminds people not to leave kids in hot cars.

Eleven kids have died across the nation so far this year. That's almost three times more than at this time last year.

State Representative Elijah Haahr's wife suggested he take action after she saw a story out of Kansas City.

"A manager at a shoe store saw a child that was left inside a car, crying, distressed, obviously perspiring. She used a tire iron to break the window. She takes a child into the store and when the drivers of the vehicle returned to the vehicle and then go into the store, their first questions not about the child but about who's going to pay for the damage," he explains.

We wanted to see how long it would take for the inside of a car to heat up.

We used a thermometer and a stop watch to calculate time and temperature. In about 25 minutes the temperature inside the car went from 77 degrees to 110 degrees. We used a thermal infrared reader and found the window to be 105 degrees. Using the same instrument, we found the front seat to be 104 degrees.

Long exposure to this heat, especially for children, can be life threatening.

"You stop sweating. Your body can no longer regulate your temperature. Red hot skin, confusion, you can have loss of consciousness. This is a very, very serious form of heat injury," explains Myers.

The bill waiting on the governor's desk will protect anyone who breaks into a car to save a child.

Haahr says, "I think this is a better way to do it then just an increased penalty for the drivers of the vehicle."

He and his wife want to make sure that nothing stops anyone from saving a life.

"It's kind of become a little bit of a family thing to try to see this through," he says.

Haahr says there's talk of someday protecting people who rescue animals from hot cars too.

Anyone who does have to break into a car must stay with the child until police arrive.

Missouri will become the ninth state to protect good Samaritans from civil liability.

The law will become effective immediately as soon as the governor signs the bill.