BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — There have been several stories over the past several months of day care providers who have left children in vans or other vehicles, only to find them later, sometimes dead. Palm Beach County is preparing to become the first in Florida to require new alarms — and procedures — for all child care providers.
Here is the official press release from the Florida Department of Health:
The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners (sitting as the Child Care Facilities Board) in August 2011 approved a new requirement for child safety alarm devices in vehicles used by child care centers. This rule is the first of its kind in Florida for protecting the children of Palm Beach County.
On or after September 1, 2012, all vehicles used by or on behalf of the child care facility for the transportation of children and that are designed to transport six (6) or more passengers must be equipped with a child safety alarm device that prompts the driver to inspect the vehicle for children upon vehicle shut off. The device must be properly maintained in working order at all times.
To ensure the safety of children, the child safety alarm must be used in conjunction with other requirements described in Palm Beach County Rules and Regulations Governing Child Care Facilities which states the driver or the staff member who conducts the walk-through inspection as required must sign the transportation log to verify that all children have exited the vehicle.
Reimbursement for a portion of the cost of the alarms is available to licensed providers through the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. More information and request forms are available online at http://providers.cscpbc.org/childalarms.
In addition, when transporting children, staff to child ratios must be maintained at all times. The driver may be included in the staff to child ratio, however, when infants are being transported, there must be at least one other staff member in the vehicle who can see and hear all the children. At no time shall the driver alone transport infants or children under 5 years of age.
The complete rules and regulations can be reviewed online by clicking here.