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Joint hearing could improve child safety

State Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, and State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, are planning a joint hearing of the senate and assembly's Children and Families committees April 22 to hear testimony on Assembly Bill 176 and Senate Bill 141, the Day Ca...

State Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, and State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, are planning a joint hearing of the senate and assembly's Children and Families committees April 22 to hear testimony on Assembly Bill 176 and Senate Bill 141, the Day Care Van Alarm Bill.

Following the sudden and unnecessary death of four-month-old Jalen Knox-Perkins at the Bumble Bee Day Care Center in Milwaukee, the companion bills were slated for fast action in the Wisconsin Legislature.

The four-month-old infant Thursday died after being left unattended in the day care van for four hours, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"Yesterday's tragedy makes it abundantly clear that swift movement is needed to address the safety of Wisconsin's children," Grigsby said. "Since 1991, seven children have died in Wisconsin after being forgotten inside day care vehicles. The Day Care Van Alarm Bill is a plan to prevent the appallingly common incidence of these child deaths."

While nothing will reverse the terrible loss felt by the Knox-Perkins family and members of the community, Sen. Spencer Coggs, D-Milwaukee and Grigsby put together a solution that can save lives and give parents greater assurance of their children's safety and well-being while in the care of child care providers.

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"We will hold this hearing in order to move this bill forward as quickly as possible," Jauch said.

The bill would require child care providers and contractors to install safety alarms in the rear of child care vehicles. The alarms would need to be manually disarmed each time the vehicle's engine stops, forcing drivers to physically search the entire day care van.

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