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A new law in New York aims to help save children's lives. Here's what's changing at summer camps and ballfields.

A new law in New York aims to help save children's lives
A new law in New York aims to help save children's lives 01:56

LONG BEACH, N.Y. -- A brand new New York state law takes effect this month. Lifesaving automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, are now required on youth ballfields and summer camps.

The changes were prompted by the grief endured by one Long Island family.

Gregg LaPenna's son, Lazar, died of cardiac arrest two years ago while running to first base during a Little League game in a Point Lookout park. Lazar had a sudden epileptic seizure and, sadly, there was no lifesaving device on the field. It was not required to be there, until now.

The new law requires an AED unit be stationed at every camp, clinic, tournament, game or practice, along with at least one person who's trained to used the defibrillator.

LaPenna said his family's loss, "helped us to get where we are today," and added, "Obviously, it's beautiful to prevent any more tragedies. It makes a big impact."

"We've worked hard in Albany through our New York State Camp Directors Association to see this come to fruition and I'm thrilled that it has become law," said Ross Coleman, president of the Long Island Camps and Private Schools Association.

Coleman is also the director of Coleman Country Day Camps in Freeport, which has had multiple AEDs for decades. He said campers are never more than a few hundred feet from an AED.

Parents urged to get trained in CPR and using AEDs

Lazar had just turned 10 when he died. His father was his coach and was helpless in the tragic situation.

Surrounded by many of Lazar's former teammates, LaPenna was on the Long Beach boardwalk on Wednesday. At the restaurant he runs, just feet away, the community erected a poster in Lazar's honor.

"Get certified [in] CPR, AED. They offer free classes everywhere," LaPenna said.

LaPenna said he is now coaching again and that he is healing through a new mission -- safety on the ballfield -- in his son's name.

"It hits the heart, something to live for," LaPenna said.

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