By Steven R. Smith, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In New York and other States, parents rely on day care centers and the transportation provided by day care centers during working hours. It is essential that day care centers carry out these responsibilities with due care and caution. It is well known that children (especially children under the age of 5 years old) lack safety awareness and good judgment. Because of this, it is vital that the child care providers and day care staff members follow applicable rules and regulations and otherwise perform their duties with a sense of professionalism and due diligence. Finally, there is something that every day care center staff members should have from the lowest level employee to the administrator / owner – common sense. While there are many rules and regulations, it is impossible for these day care center rules and regulations to cover every incident that could take place at a day care center. As such, the concepts of reasonableness, due diligence, and common sense should all come into play during the care, supervision, and transportation of children.
A bizarre incident was recently reported in Staten Island, New York outside of the Busy Kidz Day Care Center. While the van motor was running, a 4 year old child got behind the wheel and put the vehicle in reverse. This, in turn, injured a 2 year old child who was behind the van. Was this particular event foreseeable? Had an incident like this ever happened before at this facility or another facility? Is there a particular regulation in place that addresses this exact situation? This incident could have been avoided. This particular 4 year old showed bad judgment and put others at risk. Should the 4 year old have known better? That is hard to state. Young children are mischievous and often times do not realize the impact of acting out or grabbing onto an object. In many States, children under a certain age level cannot as as matter of law be held responsible for negligent for his or her own actions. As a result of this incident, the day care licensing authority revoked the license of the day care center.
When evaluating a potential day care center case or claim, there are typically four elements considered which are as follows:
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
A Child Injury Injury Lawyer can help guide a parent through the issues that arise. To establish a claim or case, the parent does not need to prove that the day care center violated a particular rule or regulations. If there was a rule or regulation violated, then the question will be whether the violation was the proximate cause of the harm caused to the child. For instance, if the facility failed to have operational fire extinguishers in place, this would be a violation of the regulation. However, if the incident at question involved a drowning, then the violation of the particular regulation would not serve as a basis to establish as case. Whether or not a regulation was violated, the case will still be evaluated on the reasonableness of the actions of the day care center staff. One question that arises in every day care center case is the follows: Could the incident have been prevented with reasonable care and due diligence? With respect to the aforementioned day care center incident outside of the Staten Island day care center, it appears that the incident could have been avoided if the engine was not running, if a bus driver was behind the wheel, OR if there were better supervision of the child in the bus and the child outside of the bus.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know has chapters on School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Automobile Accidents, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.