Articles Posted in Day Care Centers and Child Care

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Neighborhood-300x224Every year, there are numerous reports of infants or toddlers mistakenly being left in hot cars resulting in their untimely death. Children have mistakenly been left in hot cars usually from their parents forgetting to drop them off by a day care center on their way to work. The temperature inside a vehicle during hot and warm weather months easily escalates to the point that a child dies from extreme heat. One moment of inattention can lead to lifetimes of loss and hurt for families and communities. There are measures that can be taken to reduce hot car deaths; the National Safety Council reported that 51 children nationwide died in 2019 after being left in hot cars. Heat stroke has been named the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths in children under the age of 15. Certainly, the overall goal or mission should be an annual report that cites the number of hot car deaths at zero.

In efforts to reduce the number of deaths, Alabama lawmakers are working to pass a bill named after an 11-month-old boy who died last year after being left in the back seat of a car with his sister. The Cash Edwin Jordan Act would require daycares statewide to call a child’s parent or guardian if the child has not been dropped off by 9:30 each morning. This would apply to all daycares in the state, regardless of if they are public or private, and should not be too difficult to implement. The hope is that parents of children who are out for health reasons would give daycares advance notice, making the calling system an easy and efficient solution.

Parents and caregivers can also work to prevent hot car deaths by leaving essential items like cell phones, wallets, or ID cards in the backseat. Adults can also make a habit from checking the back seat of their cars before walking away and by reminding children that cars should not be used for games like hide-and-seek. Car keys should always be out of a child’s reach and cars should be locked at all times. Phone alarms can also be set for a driver’s time of arrival to remind them to check their back seat before leaving.

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Bathtub-Safety-298x300In homes and day care centers, there is risk of danger for injuries and drownings in a not so obvious place. Certainly, when most people think of drownings, they immediate think of a pool, ocean or lake.  There is also a risk of drowning and injury to toddlers and infants in a bathroom.  It is important for parents, baby-sitters, and child-care providers to recognize these risks and take preventative measures accordingly.

Bath time can be a fun activity for both parents and their children to enjoy, but a drowning incident can occur in the blink of an eye and parents should be wary of this possibility. With an average of 87 children under 5 drowning each year and 80% of these deaths occurring in bathtubs, bathroom safety should be a priority of parents with young children. Just as you would in any large bodies of water, supervising your child at all times is key to being able to respond quickly. Children can drown in just a few inches of water so it is not worth it to leave to take a phone call or go to another room with the bathroom door left open. Dedicate your time to your child as a measure of ensuring their safety. For parents with multiple children, it is also not advisable to leave younger babies and toddlers under the supervision of another young child. Young children may not be able to identify safety risks as readily as a parent. While a parent is in the bathroom with the toddler/child it would be wise to remain within arm’s length of them at all times so that one may be ready in the event that a child’s head gets submerged under water. Another great protection against drownings in the bathroom is having at least one parent learn CPR, a procedure that could potentially save your child’s life.

While drowning in the bathtub is a significant risk to be aware of in the bathroom, a plethora of other preventable injuries may occur in the bathroom that parents should be aware of. Around 43 thousand children are injured each year by slip and fall accidents in the bathroom. For toddlers there are products that secure them in place whilst using the bathtub so that they will not fall over and parents can be more hands free. For slightly older children, slip mats in the bathtub can give them something for their feet to stick to. Products such as these are inexpensive when compared to your child’s safety. Another common injury has to do with babies and water temperature. Babies have thinner skin than adults and therefore are more susceptible to scalding. Be wary of the temperature your water is at before placing your child under it. Finally, it important not to leave unattended bodies of water in your bathroom no matter how shallow it may be. Toddlers wander around and can easily fall into objects such as buckets and potentially drown. Taking these different risks into account will prepare any parent for a fun and safe bathroom experience with their child.

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Parents rely on day care centers to provide a safe environment for their children during the workday.  In most instances, a child is cared for by a trained individual who has the best interests of the child in mind. Unfortunately, far too many children are injured a day care centers when a staff member is untrained or lacks the patience / maturity to provide stable and nurturing care and supervision to child.  It is well known that children will misbehave especially infants and toddlers. Certainly, it is part of the job of a day care worker to deal with behavioral issues in a calm and safe manner.  When patience is lost, day care workers can and do inflict harm upon a child through careless acts and in some instances through purposeful criminal actions.

There are over 14 million children in a form of day care each day. Parents enroll their children in a day care program under the assumption that their children will be safely cared for while they are away. Day care cewnters have a legal duty to provide proper supervision and protection against injury. So, when the way a day care negligent acts results in a child getting hurt, the parent of the injured child may be able to bring a legal action on behalf of the injured child to seek out compensation for medical bills, pain, and suffering.  Negligence cases are dealt with in civil court, where parents can sue day care centers for financial compensation. Through a civil case or claim, a parent may be able to obtain compensation on behalf of the injured child.  Furthermore, a parent can be reimbursed for medical bills that the parent owes as guardian / financially responsible person for the injured child.

Many day care centers require parents to sign a liability waiver.  It should be noted that most States disfavor liability waivers when children are involved.  Otherwise, this would give a day care center a license of sorts to be negligent and put a child in harm’s way without repercussions.  Parents should be wary of day care centers that require the signing of a waiver that attempts to shield a day care center from negligent acts causing personal injury.

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Building-Blocks-300x271When selecting a day care center for a child, there are many options in most communities.  A parent can go with a national chain, a local commercial day care center, or an in-home day care center.  There are also day care centers that are part of schools, non-profit community centers, and churches.  While a day care center license is far from a guarantee that a child will never be harmed, a day care center license does subject the facility to oversight, rules, and regulations.  In addition, liability insurance is required as part of many licensing requirements and / or government programs that provide benefits for children enrolled in a day care center.  When a child is enrolled in an unlicensed – off the grid day care center, there may be a number of safety risks associated with the day care center.

Licensed day care facilities are held to higher standards than those that are unlicensed. Employees are required to take safety tests and learn CPR, which can be the difference between life and death in emergency situations. Licensed day cares are also subject to regular inspections from health or safety boards, so they are likely to be safer environments for children. Unlicensed day care facilities fall under no such scrutiny. Their buildings could be unsafe or unclean, their food could be unhealthy, and they could avoid immunization and handwashing procedures meant to stop the spread of diseases. Most importantly, the staff at an unlicensed day care center could be inadequately trained, and there could be too few staff members to properly watch over all the children in their care. Licensed day care centers are clearly the safer option, so why are some parents still choosing to bring their children to unlicensed day cares?

Part of the issue is simply ignorance. Popular day care search website Care.com advertises unlicensed day care centers the same as licensed ones, so some parents will unwittingly send their children to one. Prompted by an increase in infant deaths, the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office requested that Care.com “stop deceptive childcare providers” from advertising. Five infants died in unlicensed Tennessee day care centers in 2018, so it only makes sense that the DA would want to put an end to them. Parents looking for day care centers for their children should do research to see if the facility is licensed and safe. They can also report any unlicensed day care center they find.

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Video-Surveillance-in-Child-CareIn day care centers across the nation, there are countless acts of abuse and neglect. Some get swept under the rug and never get reported. Children enrolled in a child care center often is an easy target because of age, the inability to defend himself or herself, and the lack of communication skills to alert parents and other adults of the abuse.  Being a child care provider is not easy task.  It requires a person who is alert, physically able, and patient.  Unfortunately, far too many day care centers are run or staffed with unqualified and downright abusive people.

There are plenty of excellent day care centers that do not have video surveillance. On the “wish list” of things to have in a day care center, it is at times helpful to have video surveillance in place.  There are a number of benefits to having video surveillance in place as follows:

Video surveillance is another “set of eyes” supervising the care provided to the children.

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Dresser-Tipping-Danger-191x300There is a common danger in homes, day care centers, and schools.  What would often appear as a safe environment really is not.  The danger presents itself in the form of unanchored furniture.  This danger can lead to serious personal injuries and even the death of a child. When furniture is manufactured and distributed, there should be an expectation on the part of the manufacturers, distributors, and retail stores that this very items will be placed in homes, day care centers, and schools where children may be present. As such, it is important that the furniture if manufactured in a way that makes the furniture safe and steady rather than a hazard in which a terrible tragedy could happen on any given day.

It has been reported by Consumer Product Safety Commission that over 300,000 furniture chests were recalled after a child was killed by an unanchored chest. It is reported that as many as 70 children every day are injured by fallen furniture and, every two weeks, fallen furniture results in the death of one child. Chests, desks, and cabinets can tip over if a child climbs on it and the piece is not secured or made properly. However, it’s not just climbing that can result in danger. In some cases, a piece of furniture can fall over if too many drawers are open.

The responsibility falls upon the manufacturer of the furniture to ensure that, even if unanchored, their pieces do not actively pose a danger to children. Some articles of furniture come pre-weighted so that consumers do not have to weight it to make it more safe. There is also a responsibility that on the part of the distributors and retail stores, like Target and Walmart. If distributors and retailers are aware of any past injustices or injuries caused by a certain manufacturer’s furniture, they should refrain from distributing them. The ultimate responsibility belongs to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC. They decide what products get recalled and when. If unweighted furniture seriously injures or kills one child, the CPSC should take action as quickly as possible to get it out of people’s homes.

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Hospital-Injuries-from-Fall-300x231There is a dangerous location in homes and day care centers that may not be so obvious. The location involves soft furniture like a sofa or bed. An infant or toddler left on a bed or sofa can suffer a fall, which can result in head injuries, extremity injuries and other injuries. The statistics from such injuries are quite alarming. Unfortunately, many parents, babysitters, and child care providers do not recognize the dangers of a fall from soft furniture until there is an injury or incident.

Newly released statistics demonstrate that falls from seemingly safe, soft furniture—like couches and beds—have now become the number one cause of injury for children ages four and under in the United States. Falls from soft furniture also present the leading cause of trauma for infants in the United States. These statistics, originally presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ annual conference this year, come from an aggregation of data from emergency rooms over the past decade. Analysis of these statistics reveals that injuries from soft furniture falls occur at more than double the rate of the second leading cause of injury to children younger than five years old—stairs. Analysis also indicates that boys tend to sustain these injuries more frequently than girls and that younger children present a greater risk of injury than older children.

Despite these alarming statistics, precautions can help reduce the rates of these injuries. Kids Health, a division of Nemours Children’s Hospital, recommends various techniques to reduce the likelihood of a child sustaining injuries from beds and sofas. These recommendations include: never leaving children unattended on soft furniture, removing children from soft furniture if one must leave for even a moment, holding children while on soft furniture if one uses a phone or another object that may distract from complete supervision, implementing bed rails, and teaching children how to properly climb on and off of soft furniture safely once they reach an appropriate age to learn this. Adults should also learn CPR and keep a first aid kit handy, just in case a child falls and sustains injuries. See Falls from Soft Furniture – Safety Precautions. 

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In day care centers in Wisconsin and throughout the rest of the nation, there is a population of children at risk for harm when placed in a day care center – infants. Working parents rely upon day care centers to provide a safe haven for their children. These parents do not have much of a choice due to work, financial, and personal constraints of life. A dedicated and professionally trained nanny would be nice but most people cannot afford such a luxury. While most infants placed in day care centers do just fine, others suffer personal injuries and even death in the very environment where the children are supposed to be safe and well cared for.

A recent tragedy in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin exemplifies the sad reality of these incidents. News reports indicate that a ten-year-old girl attending the same day care as a six-month-old baby boy allegedly abused a child after dropping him while holding him. It was reported that the young girl admitted to stomping on the baby’s head because the baby began to cry after she accidentally dropped the baby. Consequently, the infant sustained serious head trauma and died in the hospital two days later.

At the time of the infant’s tragic death, one adult and two other children were present at the daycare. This raises questions about supervision requirements in childcare facilities and the other safety requirements necessary in such places. The Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center recommends active supervision of all children in childcare locations, especially infants. It asserts that an adult should be accessible and supervising all children at all times. In order to achieve this, the Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center suggests that childcare facilities plan out staff positioning in rooms, continually scan and count the children in the room, listen for signs of danger, anticipate children’s behavior, and set up an environment conducive to all children remaining in the constant sight of an adult. Childcare centers should also separate children of differing age groups.  See Day Center Supervision Recommendations.

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Day-Care-Sleep-Practices-300x195One would think that the safest place for a child to be at a day care center is in a crib or sleeping area. In actuality, the crib or sleeping area in a day care center could be quite a dangerous place for a child. In fact, some children even die while being supervised in a crib or sleeping area in a day care center. Actually, the so called supervision is lacking. In addition, the term “supervision” is an overstatement in these situations. In actuality, the supervision is wholly lacking. The simple but dangerous act of putting a blanket or a soft stuffed animal in the crib or sleeping area of the child can lead to catastrophic results in the form of serious personal injuries and even the death of a child.

An incident out of Tennessee demonstrates how something as peaceful and innocent as nap time can quickly turn injurious. It was reported that a nine-month-old baby was found sweating profusely and tied up by a sheet in a pack n’ play crib at his daycare center. The day care reportedly indicated that it used the blanket to restrain the infant during nap time, in order to prevent the baby from “wallowing” around while he slept. According to the news reports, use of a blanket in the sleeping quarters of a baby violates existing safety procedures in place at day cares. The Department of Human Services found other infants napping at this day care covered in blankets upon investigating the center after the parents of the nine-month-old reported the incident.

Events like these must be taken seriously because of the dangers bedding presents to small children. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, blankets and pillows present special risks to babies that they do not present to adults or even older children. For example, an average of thirty-two babies die each year from pillows because of the suffocation risk they present. Pillows can block the nose and mouth of a baby, who unlike an adult or an older child, may not be able to move or roll over to get oxygen. Accordingly, pillows are not recommended for children under one and a half years of age. Blankets and toys present a similar risk as well as the additional risk of becoming wrapped around a child’s neck. Use of pillows, blankets, and toys also create a cluttered sleeping space for a baby; studies show a cluttered sleeping space increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS, which causes infants to pass away in their sleep. Thus, practicing safe sleep techniques with infants is critical. See Consumer Product Safety Commission – Safe Sleeping Tips.

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ABC-Blocks-300x290In Arkansas and other states, parents rely upon day care centers to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment during the workday. For those who choose to own a day care center or work in one, it is important that safety needs of all the children, especially infants and toddlers, are met. Unfortunately for far too many children, injuries and incidents take place that are otherwise avoidable and preventable. In particular, injuries and incidents tend to take place when older children are permitted to play in an area occupied by much younger children. For instance, a 10 year old who has issues with hyperactivity and space issues should not be placed in the same room with an infant or toddler. Most states have rules and regulations in place regarding staff-to-child ratios and the proper supervision and separation of children by age in the day care setting.

Despite these requirements, injuries to children in day care centers still occur. As recently reported in the news of Arkansas, bite injuries are an example of potential harm that can come to children in day care. According to Mayo Clinic, human bite injuries can be even more dangerous than animal bites because of the differing strains of bacteria and viruses contained in human mouths. Correspondingly, children who sustain these types of injuries should seek medical attention because a tetanus shot may be necessary or an infection may arise. See Mayo Clinic – Risks of Infection – Human Bites. Therefore, biting is a potentially serious problem and should be avoided through consistent supervision and the following of the applicable rules and standards for day care centers.

With this in mind, a day care may be liable for a bite injury sustained by a child in its care. Though a day care center is not the absolute insurer of a child’s safety, day cares do owe their charges a duty of reasonable care. This means that day care centers should take reasonable precautions to safeguard the children in their care. Because biting is a common behavior in children, day care centers should take reasonable precautions to prevent it. For example, in the situation out of Arkansas, it was reported that caregivers laid down a 10-month-old baby for tummy time when an older child bit him. Reports also indicate that the older child was not supposed to be in that area and was known to bite. While it would probably be unreasonable to expect that the day care provide one to one supervision for every child, it would likely be reasonable to expect that the day care follow procedures about separating age groups, especially with a child with a known history of biting.