Local News

Some Lawmakers Want To Prevent Day-Care Centers From Distributing Medication

Posted May 8, 2003 3:40 a.m. EDT

— Kaitlyn Shevlin was only 5 months old when she died in an unlicensed day-care home in Alamance County in 2001. Her death is the inspiration for a proposed law that would make it a crime for day cares to give children any medication without written permission of the parents.

Kaitlyn's cause of death was sudden infant death syndrome, but investigators suspect the day-care center gave the child Benadryl to make her sleep. Alamance County District Attorney Rob Johnson wants stiff punishment for day-care operators who give unauthorized medications to children.

"When you administer medications to make the child sleep, what's the difference in doing that as opposed to taking a child and knocking it in the head with a ball bat that will make you sleep," he said.

Roslyn Savitt, of the North Carolina Child Care Coalition, said there are strict rules in place on giving medication.

"What we were really interested in was to make sure we catch the bad guys," she said.

Savitt said the bad guys are centers operating without a license. However, Rep. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, said day-care medication has a serious flaw.

"We're exempting probably half the children in the state from protection under this law," he said.

Seperate proposals have passed the House and Senate. A panel of lawmakers must determine between versions that require prison time for violators as opposed to lighter punishment. Another provision would require that infants be placed on their backs while sleeping.