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What are the Rights of a Child who Contracts an Illness at a Day Care Center?

By  David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Cold disease

Cold disease

Working parents rely upon day care centers to provide for the supervision, safety, welfare, and health of their children during working hours. It is important that  day care centers follow the local and state regulations and otherwise provide the reasonable and necessary care in order to protect the children that they are responsible for during these times. A child can contract an illness at a daycare center. Children are around other children and colds, flu, and viruses are passed between the children. Does this means that a day care center responsible when a child contract and illness? The answer to the simple question is not so simple. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of the incident and the child’s particular illness. Typically, there are four elements to a civil case against a day care center or other institution.

These elements are as follows:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
Let’s discuss a hypothetical situation. Let’s say that a child comes home with a flu from a day care center. There are 20 children in the daycare center and it is determined that another child who is in the day care center had similar like symptoms.  During the pripor day, the other child came to the day care center which signs and symptoms of a cold or flu.  The day care center removed the sick child from the classroom and called the parent. The parent was informed that the child was sick and was asked  to please come pick up the child.  A few hours later, the parent picked up the child.  It appears that the day care center handled the situation the best way it could under the circumstances.  It should be made clear that a day care center is not an absolute insurer for the health, safety, and welfare of the child.  In other words, a day care center is not responsible every time that a child gets sick OR every time that a child is injured at day care center; however, a day care center is responsible for an illness or injury if the illness / injury was reasonably foreseeable and reasonably preventable had the day care center followed its general duties and responsibilities.   This refers in the list of elements above to the “Breach of Duty”.   As such, a case can be pursued if there is a “Duty” followed by a “Breach of Duty” which is the “Cause” of “Damages” in the form of injuries or an illnesses.  In addition to proving these elements, there are also practical considerations when evaluating a day care center legal case.  A tiny scratch on a finger is evaluated much differently than a broken arm or a more serious injury.
As stated above,  one issue that commonly arises in these types of potential cases is that of foreseeability. The following questions may arise when evaluating a potential case against a day care center:
Was the passing on of the illness foreseeable?
How long did the staff know about the child’s illness?
What actions were taken to protect or provide care to the sick or injured child?
What actions were taken to protect or provide care to the other children?
What information was passed on to the parents of the children attending the day care center including but not limited to the parents of the ill or injured child?
Did the day care center have the appropriate number of trained staff members in place?
Did the day care center follow local and state day care center regulations?
Cases involving illnesses that are passed for a acquired by children at the daycare center are far from simple. Because of this, it makes sense to contact the Child Injury Lawyer to discuss the rights of the child in the potential courses of action.   The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Automobile Accidents, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.