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By Ashley Yarchin

St. Louis (KSDK) - Unfortunately, we've heard before about the negative effects of leaving a child in the car alone, even if only for a few minutes.

According to the advocacy group Kids & Cars, so far, 17 states have passed laws that make it illegal to leave a child in an unattended car.

Illinois is one of them, and that law kicks in after a kid is in there for 10 minutes. Missouri, on the other hand, only has a law in place if the child dies in that car.

But the adults in situations that are not deadly can still be prosecuted.

Sgt. Craig Kriska of the St. Louis County Police Department spoke to NewsChannel 5 Thursday about the fact that there's no ordinance that allows him to write negligent parents or adults tickets.

"However, if that mother was to leave the child in the car for a long stretch or period of time of an hour or two or three hours or longer, what we'd do is we'd write a report for endangering the welfare of a child, and that case would be sent over to prosecutors and they would prosecute that case from there," he said.

A spokesman for the St. Louis Circuit attorney's office explained that they've never pushed for laws like the ones in Illinois and the 16 other states. He said what's on the books in Missouri is sufficient and has allowed them to successfully convict those with the intent to endanger the welfare of a child.