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What if an Infant is Injured as a Result of a Fall from a Diaper Changing Table in a Day Care Center?

By David A. Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer

4_ToysA recent video emerged after a young boy was seen catching his infant sibling falling off a changing table. His keen instincts and quick reflexes prevented what could have been a terrible misfortune. Yet, while this event occurred in his home, there are similar risks and hazards in day care centers throughout the United States.  See Young Boy Catches Infant Who Falls Off of Diaper Changing Table.

In day care centers, there is a common area or piece of furniture that can be a danger or hazard for infants:  the diaper changing table.  The use of a diaper changing table makes it easier for the child care provider to change the diaper and otherwise attend to the infant; however, if a child care provider turns his or her back for even a moment, a child can fall off of a changing table.  While it is reasonable and common to have a diaper changing table at a day care center, due care must be taken to protect infants from falls off of a changing table which can result from the negligence or inattention of a child care provider.

Daycare workers have a duty to provide reasonable and necessary supervision of children enrolled in the child care facility. Day care staff members should follow by the center’s safety guidelines and all applicable local and state day care center regulations. Every day care center should have specific guidelines and facilities policies  for the use of diaper changing tables. Furthermore, even though it may seem basic, there should be training on the proper use of a diaper changing table provided the day care center management and administration.  Even with the policies and training in place, child care workers, at times, walk away from the diaper changing table or turn his or her back for one reason or another. Whatever the reason may be, precautions must be taken to ensure the child’s safety.

Many changing tables have compartments for wipes, diapers, and the other materials needed when changing infants, to avoid having adults step away from the changing table leaving infants unattended.  While another child may need attention at that particular moment, it is typically best for the child care providers to wait until the diaper has been changed to handle the situation. Or if another child is having an emergency, place the baby in a safe location and then tend to the other child.

Day care owners can regulate infants’ safety by ensuring that quality changing tables are purchased and then well maintained.. They can also hold employees accountable for following the protocol and procedures by using video cameras and/or physically checking on workers.

Likewise, parents should hold daycare facilities accountable and request to view the changing tables and any rulebooks the workers must follow.  If, by chance, an injury takes place at a day care center involving a diaper changing table or another part of the day care center, parents should be sure to get an incident report and otherwise consult with a Child Injury Lawyer as to the rights of the injured child and as to the recommended courses of action.

David A. Wolf is an author, advocate, and attorney.   He is the author of a number of books focusing on child injuries and child safety including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know.  This book has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.