A bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in child care centers is going to be debated in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

This comes after 28 children and four adults at Happy Smiles Learning Center in Allentown were sent to the hospital in October of last year for CO poisoning. The owner, Jessina Gautreaux, said at the time the emergency caught her off-guard.

"I got a call from one of my staff that one of my children collapsed. He was in the cozy area, and all of a sudden he just collapsed," said Gautreaux in October of last year.

It was later confirmed by UGI a faulty furnace and blocked ventilation allowed carbon monoxide to leak into the building. There were no detectors in place, and no state laws requiring them. State Rep. Jeanne McNeill said she watched the coverage in horror.

"I was really upset, I was crying," said McNeill. "Seeing those children on stretchers, with oxygen, I can't even fathom that happening to my children or grandchildren."

So McNeill crafted a bill to make sure nothing like this could happen again. HB 494 requires all childcare centers in Pennsylvania to have a carbon monoxide detector installed in every room on the same floor as a heating source that emits the gas.

"Keep our children safe, that's what it's all about, and it's such a small step to make that happen," said McNeill.

The bill gives businesses a year and a half to come into compliance. After that, they could lose their license if they're caught without detectors installed. On Wednesday, the bill passed the House Health committee, but not without some opposition.

"There's so many regulations already, it's death by a thousand cuts for a lot of businesses," said State Rep. Paul Schemel, who did not vote for the bill to pass out of committee.

McNeill said she doesn't buy that argument.

"I can't see that breaking a business, and for $80 to $100, it's about the safety of children," said McNeill.

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services announced, through a federal grant, it was making two free carbon monoxide detectors available for every child care center in the state.

McNeill said her bill would still be necessary, though, because it would force businesses to actually go out and get them installed. It now has to pass the House and Senate when session resumes at the end of April.

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