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What Are the Legal Responsibilites of a Texas Day Center on Field Trips ?

By Robert Chaiken, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In Texas and other States, day care centers have the duty to provide timely and consistent supervision of children enrolled in the day care problem. The day care center and staff should properly monitor and account for the children during activities inside the facility, outside the faciliuty, and during field trips. The transportation of children enrolled in Texas day care centers and summer camps can lead to serious personal injuries if there is careless driving on the part of the day care center van driver or other drivers on the roadway. Transporation can also involve the risks of children left behind in the van especially during the sweltering heat of summer. Tragically, a number of children have died as a result of being left behind in a day care center van or school bus. Many day care care center employees, owners, and administrators do not realize the risks associated with leaving a child unattended in a hot vehicle even for just a few minutes. While there are van and bus alarms that can be installed to remind the driver and attendant to clear out the van or bus, there is also a simple process or procedure that can be and should be used during each and every list. It is called a checklist. The use and consistent completion of a checklist can and does save lives. Each child transported on the field trip should be on the list. Roll call should be taken when the bus or van stops at its location. Thereafter, another roll call should be completed when all of the children have exited the van or bus. In addition, it makes sense as a safety precaution for the driver and an attendant (if available) to each do a visual sweep of the entire van and bus at all stops and destinations.

A recent day care center tragedy was repored in Dallas, Texas, It was reported that Benjamin Price, a 3 year old boy, who was attending the Little T’s Tiny Tots Day Care Center died as a result of being left in the day care center van on a hot summer day. Earlier that day, Benjamin and other children enrolled in the day care center program went on a field trip to a local movie theater. He returned to the van after the movies and then fell asleep in the van. Thereafter, Benjamin was left on the bus. It was not reported how long he remained unattended on the bus but it appears that he was long enough for Benjamin to suffer medical complications which appear to be associated with Hyperthermia. Due to the circumstances surrounding the death of this child, an autopsy may be performed to determine the cause of death and if there may have been other medical conditions or causes of death other than those related to being left in the hot day care center van. You can read more about this tragic story at 3 Year Old Boy Dies After Being Left in a Texas Day Care Center Van.

The death of Benjamin Price is certainly a tragedy for his family. It is also a tremendous loss for the extended family, friends, and community.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Automobile Accidents, Medical Bills / Medical Treatment, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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