Daycare and preschool can be wonderful environments for infants, toddlers and young children—giving them opportunities to learn, interact with other kids and grow. For parents, having quality childcare means they can focus on work, trusting that their kids are being cared for by dedicated professionals.
Unfortunately, though, that trust is sometimes broken, and a child is hurt or sickened while at daycare. In such cases, the caretakers responsible, as well as the daycare owners, may be held liable for the harm done to the child and his or her family.
Common causes of daycare negligence
Most kids under the age of 5 receive care from someone other than a parent, and about 25 percent are in daycare, nursery school or preschool, according to Darkness to Light, an organization aiming to end child sexual abuse. While all parents hope that their child will experience a safe, stable environment, the reality is that daycares are sometimes negligent. Common causes of daycare negligence include:
- Not supervising children properly
- Not feeding children properly or not feeding them enough
- Allowing kids with a known food allergy to eat unsafe foods
- Failing to intervene when one child is hurting another
- Keeping equipment that’s rusty or not properly cared for
- Allowing access to toys that are broken or contain small parts inappropriate for young kids
- Operating in an unsafe building with vermin, mold or flaking paint
- Leaving out hazardous materials like bleach or cleaner
In other cases, the daycare may fail to screen or supervise employees or volunteers, resulting in physical, emotional or sexual abuse. If you ever suspect abuse and believe a child is in danger, call 911.
Daycares may also sometimes violate rules surrounding staffing and transport, accepting too many kids per caretaker, or failing to provide age-appropriate child car seats.
Signs of daycare negligence
Daycare negligence is not always easy to spot, especially when kids aren’t old enough to speak up about what’s happening. It’s always smart to look for any sudden changes in the child’s behavior, like increased aggression or withdrawal. Unchanged diapers and a dirty face or hands may also be signs that something is off. Kids will sometimes have minor accidents even with supervision, but a reputable daycare should always tell you about any injuries that occurred, creating a report and a record. Unexplained injuries are always a red flag. And while separation anxiety is normal, extreme reluctance to go to daycare may be a sign that something isn’t right.
If you suspect negligence, don’t be afraid to drop in at unexpected times or speak with the director about your concerns. If you believe abuse is taking place, call the authorities. In order to pursue a daycare negligence case, you’ll need to show that your child attended the facility. Your daycare negligence attorney will then draw on security footage, statements from witnesses and opinions from medical professionals to show that the environment was unsafe.
Daycare abuse is a harrowing experience no family wants to go through. When choosing a facility to care for your child, always ask if there’s a child protection policy. There should be protocols for every potentially dangerous situation, as well as guidelines that limit one-on-one care. You’ll want to know how employees are screened and whether they have had training in reporting abuse. As mandated reporters, they have a legal obligation to do so.
Contact a Daycare Negligence Attorney at The King Firm
It’s incredibly painful to know that someone you trusted failed to care for your child.
At The King Firm, we’ll pursue justice for your family, bringing you some closure and peace of mind after a terrible experience. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.