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What Supervision is Required in a Day Care Center? Legal Rights of Parent for the Death of a Child at a Day Care Center

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.

It should be noted that supervision means so much more than being present on the part of a day care center worker.  For instance, a day care center worker, who is physically present in a classroom, is not providing attentive supervision if the day care center worker is otherwise concentrating on text messages, You Tube videos, and other visual and audio distractions on his or other mobile phone or tablet.

While state standards and regulations for supervision are important, the proper supervision of children in a day care center often times do and should go beyond the basic state guidelines and regulations.  Common sense and due diligence are vital to the safety of the children in a day care center.  For instance, if there was no violation of standards by having a bean bag chair in the room, that does not mean that the day care center provided proper supervision.  Based on what happened to Leo Sanchez, I would propose that all bean bag chairs be removed from day care centers.  While one could argue that better supervision would have prevented the incident from taking place.  Removing potential hazards can go a long way to preventing tragedies in the future.

When a child dies as as result of negligence in a day care center, parents can pursue a wrongful death case through a Child Injury Lawyer. In most states, a parent can pursue compensation for the loss of companionship, services, and mental anguish associated with the death of a child.  Certainly, no amount of money can ever replace a child or adequately compensate a grieving parent; however, in our civil justice system, a monetary award, settlement, or verdict is the end result of the pursuit of a case or claim for the wrongful death or personal injury of a child.  There are certain procedures and notices to follow depending on the state where the incident took place.  There are also time limitations to the filing of a claim or lawsuit for wrongful death.

David Wolf is the author of 8 books that focus on personal injury and safety issues 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.  David Wolf firmly believes in Giving a Voice to Injured Children and Their Families.

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