On Oct 11, 2022, Happy Smile, Learning Smile had a carbon monoxide leak that led to more than 30 people being hospitalized, including 25 children.
The leak was caused by a malfunctioning heating unit and a blocked ventilation system. The daycare center did not have any carbon monoxide detectors on site. Children are more susceptible to the negative impacts of carbon monoxide poisoning because they have faster metabolisms, are smaller in size and weight, and their brains and other organs are still developing. This can lead to long-lasting brain development issues, heart issues, asthma, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. Children must be protected from carbon monoxide poisoning; they are some of the most vulnerable to long-lasting damage.
The city of Allentown had already begun implementing plans to put carbon monoxide detectors inside childcare facilities via a city-wide mandate, it was supposed to take effect on October 27th. These children were 16 days away from having this tragedy avoided; action must start now. The state of Pennsylvania currently requires carbon monoxide detectors in newly constructed homes and multi-family homes but has no active laws that require them in childcare facilities. The state does have a few laws currently pending in the house and senate, such as Senate Bill 129, that would require carbon monoxide detectors to be implemented in childcare facilities. These bills must be expedited, considering the current incident. Luckily no children died in this particular case, but it is too early to see how it will impact their long-term lives. To avoid other children being impacted by such an event outside of their or their parent's control, the house and senate must work quickly to pass bills.
Children are our future, and they must be protected. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas. Without a carbon monoxide detector, there is no way to tell if there is a carbon monoxide leak. Plus, children cannot always communicate that they don't feel well, making it even more essential to have carbon monoxide alarms and detectors in daycares and schools. States and the federal government should begin taking the threat of this silent killer seriously and work to enact meaningful legislation. There is no time like the present to protect our future.