September 8, 2005
Two new state children's health and safety laws passed during the 79th Texas Legislature are now in effect, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
House Bill 984 requires public schools to have individual health plans for students who have diabetes. These health plans are developed by the school nurse and principal in collaboration with the student's parent or guardian and physician. Under the law, students are allowed to have their diabetes supplies and equipment with them in class, on school grounds or at any school-related activity as indicated in their individual health plan.
The bill also requires school principals to identify school employees who are not health care professionals to be trained to help with daily or emergency care of students with diabetes. Schools with a full-time nurse must have at least one staff member per school trained as an unlicensed diabetes care assistant. Schools without a full-time nurse must have at least three staff members trained. The Texas Diabetes Council developed guidance for the training.
In addition, the new law requires that school districts give written diabetes information to employees who transport or supervise a student with diabetes during off-campus activities.
House Bill 183 requires that children who are younger than 5 and less than 36 inches in height must ride in a car safety seat. The old law required that children younger than 4 or less than 36 inches tall be in a car safety seat.
“For safety, children should ride in child restraints much longer than what is required by the minimum standard of the law,” said Frank Luera of the DSHS Safe Riders program. “Children should ride in child restraints, which includes booster seats, appropriate for their size until they are about 57 inches tall, usually around age 8.”
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children. In 2003 in Texas, 99 children under age 15 died as motor vehicle passengers in crashes, and nearly 1,500 children were hospitalized.
(News media: for more information contact Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)