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PA House Passes Bill to Require Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Child Care Centers | WDIY Local News


The Pennsylvania House has passed a bill, proposed by a Lehigh Valley lawmaker, which aims to protect children from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The State House of Representatives passed HB 494 on Wednesday, which would require childcare facilities in Pennsylvania to install carbon monoxide detectors.

According to State Rep. Jeanne McNeill of Lehigh County, who crafted the legislation, the bill would mandate the installation of one or more carbon monoxide alarms, depending on the size of the building, in buildings that house child care facilities and have potential sources of carbon monoxide.

The legislation would give child care facilities an 18-month window to comply with the new requirements.

HB 494’s introduction came after an incident at an Allentown day care center in October 2022.

Over two dozen children and adults at the Happy Smiles Learning Center were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning. The facility was not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.

McNeill, D-133rd said she introduced the bill after learning that there were no statewide requirements to have these alarms installed in facilities that care for children.

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

McNeill also said children are at higher risk of being poisoned by the gas.

“Given that carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas, it’s difficult to know if you’ve been exposed to it, and since the symptoms of exposure are similar to other common illnesses, carbon monoxide poisoning wouldn’t be the first ailment to come to mind at a daycare,” she said in a statement.

“That’s why it is absolutely essential that childcare centers are equipped with these detectors.”

HB 494 previously passed through the House Health Committee in March on a 17-4 vote, and it now goes to the State Senate.

(Original air-date: 4/26/23)

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