By Evan Smith
Democratic State Rep. Ruth Kagi, chairwoman of the House committee on early learning and human services, is sponsoring a bill aimed at preventing sudden infant death syndrome at child-care facilities.
The bill, which had a hearing before the committee Jan. 15, requires review of childcare facilities that have deaths from SIDS.
Among those testifying at the hearing were the parents of a five-month-old baby who died of SIDS at a facility in Seattle. Another child had died at the same place 12 years earlier.
Parents of the child who died last year testified in support of House Bill 2165, which would require an outside review of a childcare or early learning center when there is a fatality. Currently, there is no fatality review process in place for childcare.
If a fatality occurs, HB 2165 would require a rigorous review by a Childcare Fatality Review Committee. The committee, which must include outside experts, would make recommendations to the Department of Early Learning and the Legislature to strengthen health and safety standards and practices in childcare — something that Kagi says would better protect vulnerable children.
“Every one of our babies in childcare should be safe and secure,” Kagi said after the hearing. “We owe it to all families who’ve had to endure a child’s death to pass this bill. I look forward to working with parents, childcare providers and the Department of Early Learning to make that a reality.”
Kagi represents the 32nd Legislative District, including Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway, unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County near Edmonds and Woodway, Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.