McNeill looks to protect children from carbon monoxide

Legislation aims to make alarms mandatory in child care centers

HARRISBURG, April 12 -- State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, has introduced legislation aimed at reducing the amount of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning incidents at child care facilities across the commonwealth. Currently, there are no statewide carbon monoxide alarm requirements in place, which McNeill calls worrisome.

“A child complaining of a headache wouldn’t know it was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, and in many instances, a caregiver might not jump to that conclusion,” McNeill said. “This legislation, H.B. 2502, is a companion bill to Senate Bill 129. It would require buildings that house child care facilities that have possible sources of carbon monoxide to have one or more carbon monoxide alarms, depending on the size of the building.”

According to McNeill, hundreds of Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, with an estimated 50,000 sent to the emergency room from accidental exposure annually.

“Carbon monoxide has no smell, no color,” McNeill said. “Many people may experience symptoms of headaches, dizziness and nausea, while completely unaware they have a carbon monoxide leak, given its covert nature. Consider the health implications for small children, unable to explain, even understand why they aren’t feeling well.… This is a common-sense safety measure that we need to bring into reality.”

Twenty-five of McNeill’s Democratic colleagues have signed on in support of the measure, which has been referred to the PA House Health Committee for consideration.

“As we enter the busy budgeting season in Harrisburg, it’s my hope that the Health Committee will move quickly so that the legislature can, as a whole, vote in favor of protecting the youngest and most vulnerable part of our population,” McNeill said.