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Your Opinion: Amend proposed daycare regulations

Your Opinion: Amend proposed daycare regulations

February 26th, 2012 by Cathy Wagner, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Next week is the "Protect our Babies - The Beginning of Ending Deadly Child Care" rally (HB1350, HB1145 and SB448 known as the Sam Pratt and Nathan's Laws.)

These bills are to regulate unlicensed daycares, enforcing the four in care limit. However they also contain wording as to relatives will be counted in the licensed home daycares numbers. Meaning if passed providers will have to make a choice of letting go of children in care to accommodate their own children. This will put an undue burden on parents. Rates will go up and infant care more difficult to find.

These bills came about due to 54 deaths in daycare from 2007 to 2011. Six were in licensed facilities and 48 in unlicensed homes. All but 13 were sleep-related deaths. After some research I found from 2008 through 2010 there were 266 were sleep-related deaths with only three in licensed daycares and 24 in unlicensed daycares. Where did the other 239 occur?

This brings the question why are the licensed daycares included in the deadly child care media coverage? Why are the licensed homes suddenly in the bills to enforce unlicensed homes to follow the law of four unrelated?

In these same three years there were 1969 deaths of children in Missouri under the age of four. In light of the recent deaths of Central Missouri children at the hands of their own family I think some things should be considered. In those same years we had 771 injury deaths. Six out of that vast number were in unlicensed facilities and none in licensed daycares. That is a huge number occurring outside of daycares settings.

As a licensed child care provider I am asking that we contact our legislators and ask that the wording regarding licensed providers and related children be struck out of the bills all together. I am asking that resources be directed at the education of parents, unlicensed providers and the marketing of unsafe sleep equipment and stop calling licensed child care providers deadly.