New live saving rules handed to GA child care centers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New live saving rules handed to GA child care centers

Georgia day care centers are getting used to new potentially lifesaving rules.

They went into effect recently to prevent children from being left in hot vans or buses.

At Fun Villa Day Care Center the children nap in the safety of the center. Owner Ellen Wages makes sure they're just as safe when she's transporting them outside their facility.

"You never know what a child might do so, the little bit of paperwork is well worth doing to save a child's life," said Ellen Wages, Fun Villa Day care & Pre-School Owner.

State records show in the last five years, day care workers left children in vehicles 57 times. It's only a fraction of more than 66-hundred day care centers throughout the state, but recently new emergency rules were put in place forcing center to double check their vans and buses.

"When our van person comes in then another person goes out to check the van, it's just another step for the children's safety," said Wages.

That's not all, under the emergency rules, drivers must walk through the vehicle, inspect all seat surfaces, under all seats and in all compartments or recesses in the interior, sign the passenger transportation check list, indicating all children have left the vehicle, and give the checklist to a director or designated staff who will also check the vehicle. Day care owners say despite a driver's best effort it's not uncommon for kids to fall asleep or try to hide.

"We have had them that will undo their seat belts, crawl up under a seat, just try to hide, it's really just for fun for them, they don't realize the danger they're presenting," said Wages.

Which is why paperwork and double checking hopes to eliminate those scenarios and the possibility that a child may be left behind.

The emergency rules also require child care and development center to report an incident to the state within 24 hours of it happening.

The state inspects all day care and child development centers at least two times a year. One of the things they ask to see are those transportation records during the inspection.

In most cases where a violation does occur, the day care provider is fined $299.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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