According to the Health Department, several children across the State of Florida die after being left in vehicles. As a result, Palm Beach County strives to become the first in Florida to require day care center vans to include alarms; the alarms are intended to prevent children from being left in vehicles. The Palm Beach County Commission has given its initial approval on the requirement and final approval by the Commission is expected August 16, 2011.
Senator Maria Sachs, from Delray Beach, Florida, thought that every child care van should have a safeguard. Sachs pushed for a similar state law that failed to pass in the Legislature in the spring. The bill would have required child detection alarms in day care center vans across the state. Sachs’ bill was prompted by the death of two-year-old Haile Brockington who sadly died after being left strapped in a van for more than six hours outside a Delray Beach day care center. The purpose of the alarms is to remind drivers and other day care center employees to check the entire vehicle every time they transport children. The drivers would have to go to the back of the van to disarm the alarm, which would sound inside and outside the vehicle.
Palm Beach County’s proposed alarm requirement and other child care safety regulations will be up for final review in August. Other regulations include requiring more than one day care center employee to ride in the transporting vehicles, increasing the operating fees for facilities, requiring employees to have at least a high school diploma, and completing criminal background checks before employees are cleared to begin work. For more information on this topic, see Palm Beach County may require alarms in day care vans.