day care

New Daycare Law Tries To Keep Kids Healthy But Ends Up Regulating Sippy Cups

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Playground daycareOn Tuesday, county commissioners in Broward County, Florida passed a new set of daycare regulations meant to improve the health of children in the area. That’s a fantastic goal. However, the new laws they have enacted start with me saying, “Absolutely yes!” and end with me saying, “…What’s that now?”

The overall goal of the law is to decrease the amount of time kids sit in front of TVs and other electronics and increase the amount of time they spend playing outside. Fantastic, I — wait…there are kids in daycare who are sitting around watching TV?! Thanks, but I can keep my kids home watching TV all day for free. No one should have to pay for that.

But since this is a thing, one new rule is (as laid out in the Sun Sentinel):

No electronic media can be used for children younger than 2, even when it’s raining. For those 2 and older, the maximum is one to two hours daily, same as the state requirement. But it can only be used for educational purposes, or for physical instruction. For afterschool programs run by private operators, the limit is 90 minutes per week, except computer use for homework.

They mentioned rain, y’all. Because you know someone out there was going to raise their hand and say, “But what if it’s raining?” Put on those galoshes and turn off Sesame Street, sister!

So far, I am on board. This makes perfect sense to me. But then we get a little further into the law things like this start cropping up:

  • No whole milk, only skim or 2%. Strawberry and chocolate milk were allowed “after robust debate.”
  • No snacks that were prepared at home unless the child brings a permission slip. “Dear Mrs. smith, please allow Johnny to eat this fruit salad. Because oh my god why are we even talking about this. Signed, his mom.”
  • There must be some source of shade in whatever outdoor area the kids are going to play in. If all that exists is a bare concrete lot that shimmers with the heat of a thousand suns, the county will help pay for trees.
  • Kids between the ages of one and five need to have 40 minutes of exercise a day for every three and a half hours at a daycare center. This is not to include nap time or quiet time. Okay, Broward County, you’ve got me back. I can support that.
  • No drinking from garden hoses. Aaaaaaaand you lost me again. Why is this a thing?! Why is there a law about this?! Doesn’t anyone ever get murdered in Broward County? Aren’t there more important things you could spend your time thinking about, commissioners?
  • No sharing sippy cups. Cooties. I get it. But this begs the question; exactly how thirsty are the children in Broward County that they are drinking out of hoses and borrowing other kids’ sippy cups? Someone get those kids a cup of water. Jesus.
  • Staff members must model good table manners and healthy food choices. Cookies get eaten in the closet, Miss Sarah.

The new law passed by a vote of 5-3, and and will affect the over 90,000 children that are in daycare, as well as the thousands of kids in before- and after-school programs.

(photo: Vladimir Nenezic / Shutterstock)