Day care centers in Wisconsin could soon be required to install child safety alarms on vehicles used to transport children.
Legislation advancing at the Capitol would require licensed day care vans carrying six or more children to install the devices, which sound an alarm unless the driver goes to the back of the vehicle to shut it off.
State Senator Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee), a sponsor of the measure, says it should be impossible for an adult to leave a helpless child alone in a vehicle. However, he says it has happened seven times in Wisconsin since 1991. Since 2005, three children have died after being forgotten in a day care vehicle.
The most recent was the death four-month-old Jalen Knox-Perkins, who died earlier this month when he was forgotten in a day care van for several hours. Keith Williams, the boy's grandfather, told lawmakers Wednesday during a Capitol hearing that requiring the alarms would bring some comfort to the family. Williams says the measure won't bring his grandson back, but it will prevent other families from having to deal with a similar loss.
A joint legislative committee approved Senate and Assembly versions of the bill Wednesday, meaning it could get a final vote as early as next week.