Articles Posted in Day Care Centers and Child Care

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By David Wolf, Attorney

Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Child-Care-SupervisionIn Alabama and a number other States, day care centers can be broadly separated into three groups:  Licensed, Unlicensed by Exemption, and Unlicensed by Violation.  While the licensure of a day care center does not guarantee that a day care center is free from risks, hazards, and negligence, the licensure of a day care center does provide for important oversight by the State.  With oversight, there is usually voluntary compliance with the applicable day care and child care rules, regulations, staffing, training, and safety standards.  Many parents are not qualified to know what the required staff to child ration should be or what training should be completed for child care providers. Furthermore, there is a certain value to having rules and regulations in place to guide a day care center as what needs to be in place to obtain a day care center license and to keep such a license.

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By David A. Wolf, Attorney

Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Baby-Elements-Blue-Icons-copy-300x282In Virginia and other states, many parents rely upon day care centers to watch over their children during the work day.  Many such day care centers are connected to or affiliated with a church or religious institution. Unfortunately in many states, there are limited to no government oversight of religious or church run day care centers because there are loopholes and exemptions in state law that opt a church run or religious day care center out of the applicable day care center regulations.  As such, many day care centers go unregulated and often engage in negligent or dangerous behavior due to the lack of training and government oversight of the facility.  As such, many church run or religious based day care centers may seem safe and well run on the outside are actually riddled with dangers and risks on the inside.
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By David A. Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Crayons-175x300Working parents rely upon day care centers so that the family can be supported and the child can be properly cared for during the work day.  Many day care centers do an excellent job of educating, supervising, and caring for the children enrolled in the child care program.  Other daycare centers, however, cut corners and end up harming the children that they are responsible for supervising.  It is certainly unfortunate and tragic in many cases when a child suffers personal injuries in a day care center.  While government monitoring and regulation can help weed out and close down bad day care centers, it is impossible for any form of governmental regulation to prevent all injuries from taking place.

One article mentioned that a single state had 115 instances where day care centers were not meeting the minimum child to staff ratios, thereby leaving young children unattended and increasing the likelihood of harm. See Mississippi Increases Oversight of Day Care Centers. Many day care centers are underfunded and simply cannot afford to maintain the appropriate number of employees to adequately supervise the number of children at the center. This problem is very serious for young children of all ages. Infants need constant supervision to prevent accidents such as rolling off of changing tables or swallowing small objects, and toddlers need constant supervision to ensure that they are learning how to share and play well with others as well as to prevent them from injuring themselves or others or trying to run away.

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By David A. Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Child Care Toys - SupervisionIn California and other States, children are supervised or placed in a child care setting at a gym, fitness facility, and other “non-traditional” location. In California, licensing is not required for many of these so called child care programs.  As such, there is limited to no oversight of the child care program, facilities, and training.  This, in turn, may put a child at risk for personal injuries while being supervised, placed, or merely just physically present in the “child care” part of the gym, fitness facility, and other “non-traditional” location.  Even without the imposition of the state mandated and controlled day care center regulations, gyms, fitness facilities, and other locations still have duties of reasonable care when such locations take on the responsibility for watching or supervision children.

A Bay Club fitness facility in San Francisco, California, currently awaits trial for this very issue. Two years ago, a young boy suffered a head injury when his mother dropped him off at a childcare center in this health club. The childcare worker at the facility did not see the injury occur, but the children who witnessed it said, “Roman ran into the window and fell down.” As a result of the injury, the young boy is now undergoing speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder therapy. See Exclusive: Bay Club in San Francisco  Faces Trial After Child Injured.

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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.

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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Toy Train.001In Utah and other states, day care centers have a duty to provide a reasonably safe educational environment for the children enrolled in the program.  It is important that the day care center follow all licensing requirements and have trained staff in place to meet the needs of the children. Supervision  and attentiveness are vital to the safety and welfare of the children.  The level of supervision will depend on the type of facility, number of children, age of the children, special needs of the children, time of the day, activity and other factors.  There are dangers lurking at all times that an infant or toddler is being cared for in a day care center. It is vital for staff members to be aware of the dangers and remove or prevent all such dangerous situations to the best of the ability and foresight of the day care center.

A recent tragedy was reported in at a West Jordan, Utah day care center.  It as reported that a toddler – Leonardo “Leo” Sanchez – crawled under a bean bag and ultimately suffocated.  A seemingly simple object – a bean bag chair – turned out to be a very dangerous object in a day care center for a small child like Leo Sanchez.  It is well known that small children are curious and will crawl into or go into areas which can be quite dangerous.  Another dangerous situation or object for a toddler or infant in a day care center is an unanchored dresser or TV stand.  There have been a number of reports of children being injured or even dying as a result of a dresser, TV stand, or TV that has fallen over on top of a child.  Sleeping and napping time can also present dangers as well to infants.  A stuffed animal or blanket can cause a child to suffocate during this otherwise seemingly safe part of a day care center.

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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog

4_ToysWhile enrolled in a day care center, a child should be supervised in an environment that is safe and free from hazards.  The day care center should follow its own policies and procedures as well as the policies and procedures set forth by state and local licensing agencies and laws.  It is difficult to legislate or regulate every since situation or care provisions that take place in a day care center.  Furthermore, it should be noted that common sense can be used in the day care center. If something seems dangerous or risky to a child, then the hazard should be removed.  It is well known that children are curious and lack safety awareness.  As such, anything within reach of a child that can cause harm should be kept away from a child.  This includes but it not limited to hot water, liquids, food, ovens, burners, and other items that can and will cause burn type of injuries to a child.  When a child is burned, first aid should be provided and the parents and when necessary fire rescue / emergency services should be called in.

A civil case on behalf of child involves four essential elements:

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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Trampoline Park and Bounce House Personal Injuries.001Over the past few years, there has been a growth in the number and presence of trampoline parks and indoor bounce house locations and facilities.  While these recreation, sports, amusement park, and theme park attractions can be great ways to have fun and exercise, they are also the locations of unfortunate and preventable injuries to children.  There are risks with any forms of physical activity and sports.  There are also safety measures and rules that should be followed to reduce these risks. If children, parents, and facility supervisors follow and enforce the rules and safety measures, many personal injuries can be prevented.
When a child is a guest or visitor to a trampoline park or bounce house, there is a duty on the part of the trampoline park / bounce house operator and owner to provide a reasonably safe play environment for the children.  The duty is one of the four elements necessary to prove up a case for personal injuries on behalf of the injured child.  The four elements are as the following:
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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Day Care Video Surveillance.001When a child is injured at a day care center, it can at times be a mystery as to how and why the child was injured.  This is especially true when a day care center work lies or hides acts of abuse, neglect, and corporal punishment.  Video surveillance, at times, captures the very acts of abuse or neglect inflicted by the very same day care center providers who have the legal duty to protect, support, education, and care for the child.  Most states prohibit any kind of corporal punishment and criminalize the acts.  As such, if a day care center work strikes a child, criminal charges can be brought against the day care center work; however, it should be noted that the criminal prosecution of a day care center worker caught on video hitting a child is not automatic.
Each incident or case is evaluated by the local law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office to determine if a crime was committed and if enough evidence can be presented to successfully prosecute the day care center worker.  If bad acts are caught on video, many people may assume that the day care center work is going to jail or prison; however, no assumptions or presumptions should be made on any particular case as to criminal prosecution.  Furthermore, it should be noted that the pursuit of a civil case is also something that needs further review by the parents and a Child Injury Lawyer as to the elements of the case and the practicality of pursuing the case.  The elements of a civil case or claim for day care center negligence, harm, assault, or corporal punishment are as follows:
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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Building Blocks - A B CWhen a child is placed under the care of a third party in the form of a nanny, babysitter, child care provider, and day care provider, it is important that the person caring for the child act in a reasonable and conscientious manner.  Certainly, the child care provider should be attentive to the needs to the child and act at all times in a calm, professional, and caring manner.  Unfortunately, far too many children suffer injuries while under the care of a third party due to inattention, neglect, distractions like a mobile phone or tablet, and other reasons. Communication and documentation can be quite helpful to parents who are concerned about the well-being and care of the child during the time periods that the child is under the care of a third party.  If the child is enrolled in a licensed day care center, there are requirements for documentation that in many instances are a bit minimal.  For children being watched by a nanny or babysitter, there are no documentation procedures or requirements in most states.  As such the care and documentation for the same are up to the respective nanny, baby sitter, or child care provider and the parents who hired the third party.  A couple in Dover New Hampshire developed a program / app called Cubby Notes which provides child care providers a tool to document the care, observations, condition, and well-being of the child while under their care. See New Hampshire Couple Develops Cubby Notes for Child Care. 
It is a tool that can and should be used by all nannies, babysitters, and child care providers.  While the app or tool is not a guarantee that a child will be well cared for, it is a useful tool that keeps the duty of care as top of mind for child care providers.  There is a maxim in the medical world as follows:  “If it is not documented – it is not done.”   This is a simple but important motto that can and should apply to the day care settings as well.