Bill to protect children from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning passes House

HARRISBURG, April 26 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today approved State Rep. Jeanne McNeill’s legislation that would require childcare facilities to install carbon monoxide detectors.

In October 2022, more than two dozen children and adults from an Allentown daycare center were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning. McNeill said she introduced her bill after learning there were no statewide carbon monoxide alarm requirements in place for facilities that care for children.

“Given that carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas, it’s difficult to know if you’ve been exposed to it, and since the symptoms of exposure are similar to other common illnesses, carbon monoxide poisoning wouldn’t be the first ailment to come to mind at a daycare,” said McNeill, D-Lehigh. “That’s why it is absolutely essential that childcare centers are equipped with these detectors.”

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

Anyone may be impacted by carbon monoxide poisoning, but children are at higher risk, and carbon monoxide poisoning can cause long-lasting health effects or even death. 

McNeill’s bill would mandate the installation of one or more carbon monoxide alarms, depending on the size of the building, in buildings that house childcare facilities and have potential sources of carbon monoxide.

“This is a sensible safety precaution that needs to be implemented, and I urge the Senate to act on this bill, as well,” she said.

The bill (H.B. 494) is supported by more than two dozen legislators from both sides of the aisle.