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School Bus - BlueBy David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

School Bus Back ViewIn the State of Washington and other States, schools and day care centers transport our most precious and important passengers – our children. In doing so, the school and day care center drivers have a legal responsibility to drive in a safe manner, obey traffic regulations and signs, and otherwise use their best efforts and judgment to get the children from one place to another.  One of the easiest tasks is the responsibility to make sure that all children are removed from the bus at the appropriate stop and certainly by the end of the run.   While this is a somewhat simple task, it is one that is commonly overlooked by day care center / school bus drivers and attendants.  It certainly requires more that merely checking the rear view mirror or completing a quick glance towards the back of the van or bus.  A school bus driver should conduct a visible sweep of the school bus. In other words, a school bus driver should safety park the bus and then get out of his or her seat and walk from the front of the bus or van and look in every seat and aisle all the way to the back and make sure that all children are removed from the bus.  It is also a good way to see if any children left any items on the bus like book bags, books, lunches, sports equipment, mobile phones, etc.  It is also a good idea to conduct a visible sweep two times for good measure.  If there is both a school bus driver and an attendant, then it is recommended by some school and child safety experts that each person (the school bus driver and the attendant) conduct the visible sweep of the bus.

In addition to the visible sweep of the bus, a checklist should be completed and documented as to the visible sweep and as to each child who was transported that day and dropped off at a particular location.   By following these simple measures, a child should not be left behind on a school bus.  Unfortunately, children continue to left on school buses due to inattention and quick glances rather than taking the extra minute or two to thoroughly check through the bus as noted above.
It was reported that a North Thurston Public School bus driver resigned after a 6-year old boy with special needs was mistakenly left on a school bus for seven hours.  Fortunately, the child was eventually located at 10:30 p.m. by school officials in the school bus at the school bus depot.   An investigation involved interviewing the school bus drive and witnesses. There was also video available to review as well.  The North Thurston Public School bus driver was upset over the incident and later resigned. You can read more about this story at Kindergarten Student Left on School Bus in North Thurston, Washington. 
When a child is left on a school bus or day care center van for an extended period of time, what are the rights of the child to compensation?  There is no simple answer to this question. It requires an analysis of the facts and circumstances.  Certainly, a child has the right to adequate and appropriate supervision especially when there is a special needs child involved.  The violation of rights does not necessarily equate with compensation from a legal and / or practical standpoint in every instance.  Again, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances and then applied to the facts of that particular State or jurisdiction.  Typically, there are four elements to prove in pursuing a legal case for compensation as follows:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
There is a duty to thoroughly visibly inspect the bus after every run and make sure that all children get to the assigned drop off point.  With respect to the North Thurston incident, there appears to be a breach of this duty when the child was not dropped off as required.   The next element causation refers to the relationship to the breach of duty and damages or harm caused to the child.  In some jurisdictions depending on the incident or type of case, a case can be pursued for purely emotional damages, mental anguish, stress, and related injuries when there are no physical injuries involved; however, these cases can be quite challenging to prove especially when there is a special needs child involved.
Of course, if a child is left unattended and suffers physical injuries requiring medical care and attention, these cases are easier to prove and present.   As stated herein, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and merits.
The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury
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Kids Number Block As Symbol For Numeracy Or CountingBy David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Here is a simple but important question:  Should day care centers provide constant care and supervision during sleep time or nap time?  The answer to this question is Absolutely Yes!   That’s right the answer has an exclamation point at the end because it is so important that child care centers and day care centers have trained staff in place that recognize the risk and dangers during nap time and sleep time for infants and toddlers.   Without any child of child care training, one would think that the safest place for a child or a baby is in a crib during sleep time.  The truth is that many children every year suffer personal injuries and even die during sleep or nap time due to inadequate supervision, improper sleep position, and the presence of blankets, stuffed animals and other soft objects left in the crib or sleeping area.

In Webster Groves, Missouri, a child care facility was cited by the State of Missouri for several violations following the reported death of an invent who was provided a weighted blanket during nap time.  The Webster Child Care Center is licensed for 165 children. Owen Haber was 7 months old when he was being cared for at the Webster Child Care Center.  Itr was reported that Owen was provided with a weighted blanket but his parents were not informed of the use of a weighted blanket.  It was reported that the State Regulatory Report indicated at Owen rolled over on his abdomen during nap time but he was not re-positioned.  There was an autopsy performed and the cause of death was determined to be SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).   In the State Regulatory Report, it was indicated that the blanket may not have had a role in the death of this 7 month old child.   The investigation revealed that the blanket weighed 4 pounds 8 ounces.  State Regulators in Missouri have not banned the use of weighted blankets during sleep time for infants and toddlers; however, many child safety experts and medical providers would support a ban if one was put in place.

Simply stated, having a weighted blanket as a sleep tool or aid can lead and does lead to serious personal injuries and death.   The tragic story of Owen Haber shows the importance of training, education, and, yes, detailed state regulations for day care centers related to the monitoring of infants and toddlers during sleep time.   Of course, the facility – Webster Child Care Center – is entitled to legal representation to defend itself against allegations of improper care by the parents and / or the State of Missouri.  In cases involving the death of a child, there are often opposing opinions as to the cause and preventability of death from very educated experts.  You can read more about this matter at State of Missouri Seeks to Place Day Care Center in Webster Grove on Probation for One Year.  You can read further commentary from a sleep expert about this incident and the use of weighted blankets at Infant Death at Child Care Raises Concerns About Weighted Blankets. 

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Theme Park and Amusement Park Injuries, Swimming Pool and Water Park Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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Kids Block Spelling Dad As Symbol for Fatherhood And Parenting

By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Legistlators in Arkansas have revised the applicable regulations for day care centers in an attempt to improve the quality of care as well as the enforcement of the same.  It has been reported that there are over hundreds of changes to the existing day care center / child care regulations for licensed day care centers in the State of Arkansas.  There will be stricter rules for background checks and there will be stricter educational requirements for day care center directors.   Education and regulation can go a long way to improving the care and to better protecting children enrolled in a day care center.   While regulations are important, they are not always filed or strict enough to bring some day care centers into line. It is important that parents seeking or currently with day care / child care in place also exercise due diligence in investigating and monitoring the day care center.   Parents should frequently visit the day care center and also visit at odd hours to make sure that the quality of care is consistent at all times of the day and during all day care related activities.  You can read more about the Arkansas Regulations for Day Care Centers at New Regulations Go into Effect for Day Care Centers in Arkansas. 

If a child is injured at a day care center and a regulation has been violated, does that automatically mean that the parent bringing a case or claim on behalf of the injured child wins?  The answer to this question is No.   There needs to be more shown that just a mere violation of a regulation.   Essentially, there are four elements that need to be proved to establish a viable claim or case for day care center related personal injuries:

1. Duty.  A day care center has a duty to follow the applicable regulations and to also provide reasonable and necessary care whether or not specifically addressed by said day care center regulations.

2. Breach of Duty.  This refers to the failure to act reasonably.  This may include a breach of an applicable regulations but does not have to.

3. Causation.  This is often the most difficult element to prove or establish.  There must be a link between the Breach of Duty and the Damages.  In other words, the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the damages or injuries sustained by the child.

4. Damages.  This element generally refers to the injuries or damages suffered by the child.

From a practical standpoint, a Child Injury Lawyer will evaluate the case (even if all elements can be proved) to determine if it makes economical and time sense to pursue the case.  For instance, if a child got bit by a mosquito but the staff did not put ointment on the bite, this could technically meet the definition of a legal case but it may not be practical to pursue if there were no serious harm or damages resulting from the Breach of Duty.  Each case or potential case should be evaluted on its own merits, facts, and circumstances.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Damages and Compensation, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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106-1113tm-vector2-2936

By David Wolf, Attorney and Robert Fernicola, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

 Trampolines are common sites in most neighborhoods especially those with small children.  While a trampoline can provide children with an activity that is away from the computer, smart phone, X-Box, and other sedentary activities, the trampoline can also be the site or location for serious personal injuries.  Unfortunately, many homeowners,  business owners, school administrators, or amusement – theme park operators  with trampolines on the premises fail to maintain the trampoline in a safe condition OR fail to provide adequate and appropriate adult supervision during the child’s use of a trampoline.   Small children especially those with poor motor skills are especially at risk for trampoline related personal injuries.   There are some safety precautions that can and should be taken as follows:

1.  The trampoline should be inspected prior to each use to make sure that the footing of the trampoline is secure, all debris is removed from the trampoline, the appropriate side netting is in place, and the trampoline is dry.

2.  In most instances, use of the trampoline should be limited to one jumper. It is a recipe for danger when a small child is jumping on the trampoline concurrently with a larger adult.  The force and effect of the adult jumping on the trampoline can cause serious personal injuries for the child jumping as well.

3. Adult supervision should be in place at all times especially for younger children.  Being in the house and glancing out of the window every now and then may not be sufficient supervision.  Ideally, a parent or adult should be in place at the trampoline to give instruction and to monitor the proper use of the trampoline by the child.

The risks and dangers of trampoline use are well documented even beyond the United States. An article in the Telegraph – an United Kingdown published noted the dangers of trampolines and the emergency room / hospital admissions involving trampoline related personal injuries.  See Trampoline – Warnings, Risks and Hospital Admissions

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Homeowner’s Insurance, Sports Related Injuries, Amusement and Theme Park Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

If a child is injured on a trampoline at a home, business, school, or amusement park, there may be a cause of action or a claim that a parent can pursue on behalf of the injures child.  The pursuit of the case and the settlement or compensation obtained will depend on a number factors including but not limited to the followins:

The age of the injured child’

The number of persons using the trampoline at the time of the incident;

The safety precautions in place (i.e. netting, adult supervision, maintenance, etc.)

The circumstances leading up to the injury;

The preventability of the injury with proper trampoline use and / or adult supervsion;

The type and amount of homeowner’s insurance or liability insurance for trampoline related personal injuries;

The type, kind, and extent of the personal injuries suffered by the child;

Medical treatment recevied for the injured child; and

Medical treamtent in the future needed for the injured child.

A Child Injury Lawyer can help a parent work through the above issues and conduct an investigation as to the cause and preventability of the trampoline related personal injuries.   Each potential case should be evaluated on it own facts, circumstances, and merits.

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Emergency Sign

By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) can be great fun for children and adults alike; unfortunately, these same recreational vehicles are the cause or mechanism of thousands upon thousands of personal injuries and, in some instances, the deaths of children.  Just because an All Terrain Vehicle seems like great fun – – parents and other adults responsible for the care and well being of children should pay close attention to the statistics out there which show over 100,000 visits to the emergency room due to injuries / deaths attributed to All Terrain Vehicle use and operation.  Some States like Pennsylvania have restrictions as age requiremnts for use of ATVs.   While laws can help deter dangerous activities by children and dangerous activities permitted by adults, children across the Nation and in Pennsylvania continue to operate All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) without training, licensure, adult supervision, or proper training.  There are dangers both when a child operates an ATV and when a child is a passenger of an ATV.  At any moment, a child operator or passenger can fall off of an ATV. This can be especially dangerous if the child is not wearing a helmet, the ATV is being operated at a high rate of speed and / or is taking a sharp turn, and when the ATV is being operated on rough terrain or on a street.

In Somerset County Pennsylvania, there was a tragic accident involving an ATV which resulted in the death of Tailynn Felker (age 4). It was  reported that this young girl was thrown off of an ATV that she was riding with her 14 year old cousin.  There were no helmets or seat belts in use at the time of the incident.  You can read more about dangers of ATVs at The Risks and Dangers of ATVs.

There are a number of factors from a legal standpoint when a child is injured while operating or riding an ATV including the following:

How old was the child who was injured?

How old was the person operting the ATV?

What kind of training (if any) or licensure (if any) did the operator have regarding the operation of the ATV?

Who owned the ATV?

Did the injured child’s parents give permission to the child to operate or ride as a passenger on the ATV?

What adult supervision was in place at the time of the incident?

What safety measures were put in place? (Helmet, Seat Belt, Type of Course / Terrain, Type and Model of ATV)

Was the ATV accident or incident avoidable?

Was there liability or ATV insurance in place for injuries caused during the operation / use of the ATV?

What injuries were suffered by the child?

What medical treatment was received by the child?

What laws (if any) are in place for the use / operation of an ATV?

The above questions are just some of many questions a parent of an injured child will have following an ATV accident or incident. It is often helpful for a parent in these situations to consult with a Child Injury Lawyer to determine the respective rights of the injured child.   The book – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Insurance, Compensation & Settlement, and other topics. While there is not a specific chapter on ATVs in this particular book, the general concepts presented in the book can be applied to ATV related cases.  You can get a free copy of this book at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.

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ByChild Care Note As Reminder For Kids Daycare David Wolf, Attorney and Robert Fernicola, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

In New Jersey and other States, parents rely on day care centers to provide care and supervision of their infants.  In most instances, work  schedules put parents in a position of needing day care for their infants.  What kind of supervision should be provided to infants at day care centers?  The laws and regulations vary from State to State.  As such, it is important to look to the respective State’s day care center regulations to determine what is required as to staff to child ratios, training, supervision, facilities, licensures, and other requirements.  Infants require a higher level of supervision and attention while enrolled in a day care center.  Infants are especially at risks for choking, respiratory difficulties, SIDS (Suddent Infant Death Syndrome), and other complicatons.  Because of this, infants should not be left attended or under the watch of a baby monitor or other electronic device.  When a child has a respiratory or other problem at a day care center, it is important for the trained day care staff to spring into action.  Otherwise, the infant at the day care center is at risk for serious personal injuries and, in some tragic instances, an untimely death.   In Highland Park, New Jersey, it was reported by the Associated Press (AP) that a day care center worker was charged with one count of child endangerment for levaing a child unattended which was determined to be a contributing factor of the death of the infant.  The autopsy did not necessarily pin point the cause of death.  You can read more about this tragic story at Day Care Center Worker Charges in Infant’s Death in Highland Park, New Jersey.

Day care center workers should provide direct and constant supervision for infants in a day care center even and especially at nap time or sleep time.  An infant is at risk for respiratory issues, suffocation, SIDS, and other dangers during nap or sleep time.  A simple pillow or stuffed animal can be extremely dangerous to a sleeping infant.  It is important that day care center workers are trained on proper supervision techniques for infants at all times including sleeping and napping times.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Automobile Accidents, Sports Related Injuries, Child Abuse, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

When a child suffers an injury or dies at a day care center, it is important for parents to seek out legal advice to determine what causes of action (if any) can be pursued on behalf of the injured child.   A Child Injury Lawyer can answer questions and provide the parents guidance on these matters.

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In professional sports, there is a wide gambit of behavior for coaches and players.   Many are wonderful role models who use their celebrity, good work, and inspiration to help others and improve the community and beyond.  Other professional athletes, however, by a single act or many bad acts put the league and professional sports in general in a bad light.  The National Football League is tested on a daily basis to bring entertainment to the masses while at the same time policing its own players, coaches, and other personnel.  It is a tough balancing act  but an important one especially since the players and coaches are looked upon for guidance, inspiration, and, yes for role modeling.   Recently, the NFL issued a firm statement regarding the playing status and suspension of one of the finest athletes in the NFL – Adrian Peterson.  While the suspension was handed down to one individual by the name of Adrian Peterson, the carefully and well crafted words of Roger Goodell took a strong stance against corporal punishment and child abuse.  As so aptly pointed out by Goodell, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only 4 years old.  Goodell pointed out that the size and strength of the child was so much different than that of Peterson.  Furthermore, Goodell pointed out that unlike an adult – a child had no realistic ability to fight back, flee, or seek the assistance of law enforcement.  Then, Goodell noted that the switch (i.e. tree branch) was the equivalent of a weapon that Peterson repeatedly used on his son.  Goodell then noted that Peterson indicated that he would not stop “whopping his kids” in the future.  (It should be noted that Peterson recently stated that he would never use a switch again on his son.)  These statements caused much concern to Goodell about Peterson’s proclivity to repeat these criminal acts and inflict harm on a defenseless child.  Because of all of the above and more, the NFL is requiring Peterson to undergo counseling and to sit out the rest of the 2014 season. His reinstatement in 2015 will depend on Peterson’s compliance and the results of counseling and treatment.
Many people will take issue with the punishment handed down to Adrian Peterson.  Many parents and caregivers still implement corporal punishment at home even the kind inflicted by Adrian Peterson on his 4 year old son.  Those who support Adrian Peterson and this kind of corporal punishment may disagree with the NFL and the position taken in this article; however, it should be noted that child abuse is child abuse.  The defense or excuse that Peterson was beaten as a child and this was how he was raised is weak.  Prior bad acts do not justify current or future bad acts.  If this was the case, there would be no progress in society.   We would still have many unfair laws on the books and the protections afforded to children by law and practice would have possibly never been put in place.
Corporal punishment is by no means limited to the home.  Many day care centers and schools still implement different forms of corporal punishment.  Some corporal punishment acts are allowed depending on the State and county laws.   However, even when corporal punishment is legal, there are limits to the corporal punishment.  Most States, even those that allow corporal punishment, set limits.  Typically, corporal punishment should not be so severe that it causes physical harm to the child that requires some form of medical attention or physical harm to the point that it produces visible injuries like welts, lacerations, hematomas, etc.
It is far easier and more sensible for parents and caregivers to refrain from corporal punishment in the entirety. Of course, many parents will argue that parenting should be left to parents.  Furthermore, these same parents will argue that physical punishment is the among the most effective ways to teach a child and set the child straight.   I wholeheartedly disagree, because young children, especially those born to parents who aggressively dole out corporal punishment, deserve the protection of the laws and the government.   Otherwise, we are just going to see more victims like Adrian Peterson’s 4 year old son.  It should also be pointed out that many such instances of abuse and neglect go unreported and, in turn, these children are essentially unprotected and in harm’s way every day.  Tragically, some children have been beaten to death just for soiling a diaper or underwear.  Many others have been seriously injured for other trivial or unintentional conduct.  It should be made clear to all parents and child care providers – kids will be kids.  They will make mistakes. They will misbehave. It happens.   Good parenting and child care includes not only how a parent reacts to the positive actions of the child but the negative ones as well.  Parent and child care providers should be patient, understanding, and mature with the decisions they make with respect to children under their care.
If a child is injured as a result of corporal punishment, neglect, or abuse, there may be a need to contact an attorney on behalf of the injured child.  There may also be a need to report the incidents to the appropriate social service agency and law enforcement.  The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Damages / Compensation, Insurance, Child Abuse, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
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Pedestrian Crosswalk Sign

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by
Child Injury Lawyer Network

Halloween is a wonderful tradition for most children in most neighborhoods.  It is a magical night for most who venture out to knock on doors to get free candy.  It is a night full of adventure and fun.  Unfortunately for some children and their parents, Halloween marks the day / night when tragedy strikes.   Despite the fact that Halloween always falls on same day of the year and the fact that Halloween is a well known tradition filled with child pedestrians and trick or trickers, there are still pedestrian accidents, personal injuries, and even deaths that take place on Halloween.  With a long standing tradition of trick or treaters, Halloween is a magical night but also a very dangerous one.  It can be quite a challenge to drive a vehicle in any residential or commercial area on Halloween night.  It is important to drive with the utmost of caution.  Drivers should not just obey the speed limits and local traffic regulations. Drivers should drive well below the speed limits and be on the look out for children.

In Santa Ana, California, tragedy struck three times in a residential neighborhood.  Three girls – between the ages of 13 and 16 years old – were struck by a vehicle while trick or treating.   It was reported that the driver of the vehicle lost control of the vehicle and struck the girls as they were walking with their Halloween buckets of candy.   Witnesses to the horrific accident saw three males escape on foot from the scene of the accident.  The accident took place at approximatley 6:45 p.m. in the area of Fairhaven Avenue and Old Grand Street near the area of Fairhaven Elementary School. You can read more about this incident at Halloween – 3 Deaths of Teenage Girls in Santa Ana California.

When a child is injured or dies as a result of a pedestrian incident, a parent is often faced with a number of challenges.  Of course, no parent ever is emotionally prepared to deal with a seriously injured child OR a child who died as a result of the careless acts of others.  Shock and disbelief are common and understandable emotions for parents.  It is vital that parents at this time of need have the support of other family members, neighbors, friends, the community, medical providers, and yes when needed a Child Injury Lawyer.  The book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident – has chapters on pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, automobile accident, automobile insurance, wrongful death, settlement / compensation, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.

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Red blanketBy Nancy Hirsch, and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by
Child Injury Lawyer Network

In Missouri and other States, parents rely on day care centers to provide reasonable and secure supervision so that parents can attend to their jobs and other commitments.  Unfortunately for some infants and children in day care centers, their needs are neglected to the point that serious personal injuries and even death result while in the day care center.  One commonly overlooked time of danger involves nap time or sleep time at the day care center.  Infants are at risk for injury while in nap time or sleep time.  This statement should be repeated and bolded.  Infants are at risk for injury while in nap time or sleep time.  For children under the age of 2 years old and other children needing special assistance, direct supervision is recommended due to the risk of suffocation, asphysiation, and / or SIDS (Suddent Infant Death Syndrome) incidents.   In addition to direct supervision, day care centers should take steps to clear the sleeping area of pillows, soft objects, blankets, and any other items that can be a hazard for sleeping infants.   At the beginning of nap time, the sleeping area may be safe; however, all it would take would be another child to toss a simple stuffed animal into the crib or sleeping area to create a hazardous situation.   This is just one reason among many to have direct supervision in place for infants in a day care center during sleep time or nap time.

Tragically, children die while under the supposed supervision of a day care center far too often.  In many such incidents, the resulting injuries / deaths are avoidable or preventable IF supervision and a safe sleep environment were provided to the child.   A recent tragegy was reported in Webster Groves, Illinois.  It was reported that Owen Haber (7 months old) was found on his stomach in a crib at a day care center.   Below the infant, a bunched up blanket was found.  The child was subsequently rushed to St. Louis Children’s Hospital and unfortunately and quite tragically died the next day.   The date of this child’s death was August 21, 2014 – a day that his parents, family, and community will not soon forget.  An autopsy was later performed and the medical examiner reported that the cause of death was SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The presence of blankets and / or other objects in a crib can and do increase the risk of suffocation, asphyixation, and / or SIDS related deaths.  The use of weighted blankets (i.e. blankets with sewn with flax seeds inside for greater weight) is not just a bad idea in a day care center – it is a “dreadful idea” according to James Kemp, a pediatrician and medical researacher at Washington University School of Medicine.  Following the death of Owen Haber, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services cited the day care center for violations related to the supervision of the children and improper use of the weighted blanket during nap time / sleep time. You can read more about this incident at Infant Death Raises Concerns About Weighted Blankets in Day Care Centers.

The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Sports Related Injuries, and other topics.  This is a great resource for parents dealing with the aftermath of an injury caused by the negligence of others.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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playground tire swings empty

By Sara Schlafstein, Law Clerk and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

In the State of Washington as well as other States, playgrounds provide children a place to have fun and be active.  Playgrounds allow children to move around, use their imagination, and interact with their friends.  To have fun, playgrounds should be a place where there can be a certain amount of adventure.  This must be tempered with safety and adult supervision.  Unfortunately, playgrounds can be the site of serious personal injuries or even the death of a child when equipment is in disrepair, equipment is not age appropriate for the children in and around the playground, equipment is dangerous, and / or there is a lack of supervision.   While most playgrounds are designed with safety in mind and provide a great environment for children, adult supervision should always be provided because most playgrounds have swigns, ropes, monkey bars, and / or elevated areas in which a child can be injured.  Furthermore, children need to be supervised to make sure that the playground is being used as designed.  Furthermore, any time that children play in the same area, there is always a risk of rough play, bullying, and other acts that can and do lead to the injury of a child.

It was reported by several media outlets that Stormy Solis (a 7 year old girl) died as a result of  a swing set related injury at Fisher’s Landing Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington. According to the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office, the 7-year-old girl suffered a fatal closed head injury. After falling off the school’s swing set, she reportedly felt dizzy upon her arrival home, and was later found sick in her bedroom that day. She was then taken to a medical center and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, and later transferred to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. She was taken off life support by her doctors on the morning of Friday, October 3, 2014. This tragic event has led to changes in playground policies in certain Washington counties.

As a result of the accident, two Washington school districts, Spokane and Richland, are removing swing sets from all school playgrounds. The decision is garnering mixed criticism from parents in the area. The incident, however, raises important questions regarding swing sets on playgrounds and the extent to which they should be restricted or banned. See School District Removes Swing Sets Following Death of Child Resulting from Playground Injury.

Due to the motion and heights associated with swing sets, personal injuries can result especially when a child falls off of a swing or jumps off of a swing in motion.   A child can also be injured if he or she walks too close to another child in motion on a swing set.  With proper adult supervision and use of the swings by the children, most swing set related injuries can be avoided.

Most personal  injuries come from misuse of equipment such as standing on the seats, or walking closely behind or in front of a swing. To some, banning swing sets from a playground may seem drastic or an exaggerated reaction to an isolated incident.   To others, the banning of swing sets makes the playground that much safer and better protects the children.

Most playgrounds these days still have swing sets in place.  Playground supervisors should adhere to certain guidelines to prevent swing set related injuries. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety website (www.cpsc.gov), swings should be placed far enough apart from each other to prevent injuries resulting from impact between moving swings. As such, it is suggested that swing spacing be:

– At least 8 inches between suspended swings and between a swing and the support frame.

– At least 16 inches from suing support frame to a pendulum see- saw.

– Minimum clearance between the ground and underside of swing seat should be 8 inches.

– Swing sets should be securely anchored.

In addition, authorities should create a no-access zone around the swing set to prevent children on the ground from coming into contact with a moving swing. Beneath the swing set, there should be a shock absorbent material rather than a hard material such as concrete. Supervisors should monitor the children at all times to make sure that children are using the swing set equipment properly (such as refraining from standing on the seats or roughhousing in close proximity to the equipment, etc.). Adults should use necessary disciplinary action when safety rules are broken to prevent serious injuries. For more information on swing set and playground safety tips, see Playground Safety Tips.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Playground Injuries, Sports Related Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics.  This is a wonderful resource for parents seeking some information when dealing with the aftermath of a child injury.