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Local Lawmaker's Bill to Mandate Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Child Care Facilities Passes House Committee | WDIY Local News

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City of Allentown

A Lehigh County state lawmaker says a reintroduced bill to make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in child care facilities has been approved by a House committee.

State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-133rd said her bill, called HB 494, was reported out of the House Health Committee with a 17-4 vote.

According to a release, the bill would mandate the installation of one or more carbon monoxide alarms in buildings that house child care facilities and have potential sources of the poisonous gas.

McNeill introduced the bill earlier this month, and it now goes to the full House for consideration.

In a statement, McNeill pointed to an incident in October 2022, when a carbon monoxide leak at an Allentown daycare center sent nearly 30 children and five adults to the hospital.

According to reports, the leak at the Happy Smiles Learning Center was caused by a malfunctioning heating unit and a blocked venting system. The facility also did not have carbon monoxide detectors.

McNeill called the lack of statewide carbon monoxide detector requirements for childcare facilities “alarming,” noting that many people experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning may not be aware that they are suffering from a leak.

“This can cause permanent health effects and even death for young kids who may not be able to explain or even understand the source of their discomfort,” McNeill said.

“This is a sensible safety precaution that needs to be implemented.”

She said an estimated 50,000 Americans are sent to the emergency room annually from accidental exposure to the gas, and that hundreds die each year from poisoning.

McNeill sponsored a similar bill last year, but it languished in the Health Committee, which was under Republican leadership at the time.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is currently making up to two free carbon monoxide detectors available to certified child care providers.

The detectors, which are paid for by federal child care funding, are available through April 30.

(Original air-date: 3/30/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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