Entries in Regulations (3)


Colo. Proposed Child Care Regs Include Race of Dolls and Staff Clothing

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Colorado child care workers might soon face a few more tasks on their daily to-do lists. The state's Department of Human Services is proposing new child care center regulations that would limit kids' TV time to 20 minutes per day and regulate items including the race of the dolls kids play with and what kind of clothes staff members wear.

The rule changes, which the state has outlined in an exhaustive 98-page document, have been in the works since 2006. Rules include guidelines on time spent outdoors, sunscreen policies and field trip mandates.

"The proposed rules are just astronomically overbearing. There's too many of them and they're too specific for a center to be able to remember and follow," preschool director Ida Mae-Custer told 7NEWS in Denver.

The state has been gathering public feedback at information sessions that will run through September.

Deb Hartman, the program director at an early learning center in Trinidad, Colo., hosted an information session for the proposed rule changes. Hartman largely supports the state's proposal, but said that certain things, such as increasing the number of emergency drills from 14 per year to 20, weren't practical.

"That's a lot of drills to be running," she said, adding that the process was already stressful for young children. "Between the noise and the exit procedure, it's pretty traumatic."

Hartman said her facility already complies with most of the proposed changes, but not all. Adding additional restrooms and improving the playground may be required if the proposal gets approved, and costs for that would run about $10,000.

Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Human Services, stressed that the rules are not set in stone and are a long way from final approval. Mid-2012 is the earliest the rules would go into effect.

"These are quality standards that were taken directly from a national standard," she said. "We were lagging, we're attempting to improve that."

Charlotte Brantley, president and CEO of Clayton Early Learning in Denver, said she welcomed the conversation and thought parents would find assurance in knowing what's required of child care providers.

"You may think it's overkill, but at least you know," she said. "I think what we're having to deal with here is finding the right balance."

Colorado ranks 43rd nationwide for child care center regulations and oversight, according to the National Center of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Linda Smith, the center's executive director, pointed out that doggie day cares in Colorado are inspected twice a year while child care centers are only inspected once every other year.

"That doesn't make sense on anybody's radar," she said. "Colorado's got a lot of room for improvement."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Appellate Court Decides: FDA to Regulate E-Cigarettes as Tobacco Products

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday that it would go along with a federal appellate court decision to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.

The FDA had wished to regulate the instruments as drug devices the same way nicotine gum and smoking cessation products are regulated.  The FDA maintains that e-cigarettes are not safer than smoking cigarettes, as their makers and distributors often promote.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided in January that the battery-powered nicotine-delivery devices should be regulated as tobacco products instead. 

Drug device regulations would have required the product to go through pre-market approval. 

Tobacco product regulation prohibits e-cigarettes from being marketed with other FDA-regulated products like food, cosmetics, medical devices or dietary supplements.

Often marketed as a smoking alternative to aid quitting, the FDA argued that e-cigarettes could be regulated as a medical device. But the court rejected this claim, saying that e-cigarettes are not marketed as smoking cessation devices, and therefore could not be considered medical devices.

E-cigarettes will now be subject to ingredient listing, user fees and registration requirements, in addition to several others.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NY Health Department Will No Longer Regulate Fun

Christopher Robbins/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York State health officials have yanked a new set of rules that would have regulated freeze tag, capture the flag and more than a dozen other classic childhood games. The regulations were meant to close a loophole to a law passed in 2009 that allows indoor summer camps to operate without the same oversight that applies to outdoor camps.

The retracted rules placed these childhood rites of passage on the same list of risky recreational activities as archery, scuba and horseback riding. Any program that offered two or more organized recreational activities, with at least one of them on the risky list, would have had to pay a registration fee and provide medical staff.

Many parents were incredulous that such measures were even considered.

"Was this dreamed up by the video game industry?" asked Melissa McNeese, a mother of two in upstate New York.

"Wow, Wiffle ball isn't even a contact sport," said Dayna Diamond, a Manhattan mother of two young children. "Should we lock our kids up in order to protect them from a scrape now and then?"

Child psychologists echo these concerns. "It seems counterintuitive to regulate fun. It's already hard enough to keep kids active," noted Jeff Brown, a Harvard psychologist and author of The Competitive Edge.

Brown notes that these games teach children important lessons about things like cooperation, focus and competition. Even if the games were regulated, he thinks kids would probably play them on their own. "It probably makes more sense to continue adult supervision," he advised.

Some parents have reached their threshold for this sort of childhood micromanagement.

Recent attempts to ban chocolate milk in the school lunch room were met with a less than enthusiastic response. And earlier this year, parents in Edgewater, Fla., staged a protest and won a rollback of strict guidelines like mandatory mouth rinsing and a daily sweep of the school by a peanut-sniffing dog that were put in place to protect a single student with a peanut allergy.

Although many people may feel overly protective legislation has gone too far, playgrounds can be perilous. Each year emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries, to the tune of more than $1.2 billion in medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since statistics don't drill down into specific detail, it's unclear how many of these injuries are the result of an over-spirited tag or a Wiffle ball to the face.

With the retraction, New York State Health Department spokeswoman Claudia Hutton said officials would continue to gather information during a comment period that ends May 16 and will formulate new safety regulations that are broader. But for now, red rover and steal the bacon are still legal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio