Millions of parents rely on daycares and early childhood education centers to watch their children. For the most part, these businesses are licensed and safe. However, there are still many injuries that take place every year at these locations. According to Maternal and Child Health Journal,” The prevalence of injury in the U.S. for children aged 1-5 is 11.9 % [over the 12 month period for the study]. Children who attend childcare centers ≥10 h per week have a higher injury prevalence than those cared for by parents at home (13.9 vs. 10.4 % respectively, p < 0.05), but this differs by age.” That means that in any given year more than 1 out of 10 children will be injured at daycare.
Some of the most common injuries occur in the playground. Children can sustain lacerations or broken bones from falling. Injuries in a daycare setting can range from mild to very severe. Preventing injuries requires that daycares are properly staffed and that those staff are well trained. But safety rules are not always followed. If your child was injured in a daycare or early education center, you may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Our team of daycare accident attorneys at Samer Habbas & Associates are here to help in any way that we can. We can evaluate the unique facts of your case and let you know if you have a claim that can be pursued. You can reach out to us anytime at 949-727-9300.
Safety Requirements For Daycare Centers In California
All daycares in California must meet certain minimum safety standards and be licensed by state regulators. Anyone wishing to open a daycare must be at least 18 years old and have a clear criminal record. They must also complete a minimum of 16 pediatric health and safety training hours. The home or facility must be child-proofed to the greatest extent possible. This includes making cabinet drawers inaccessible through the use of safety locks. The California Childcare Health Program has a checklist daycare operators must go through.
- Daycares must use a sign in/ sign out system that tracks what children enter and exit the facility.
- Fire extinguishers should be inspected annually.
- Each room should have a working smoke detector.
- Plastic bags, matches and candles should be out of the reach of children.
- Food preparation areas need to be separated from child care areas by a door, gate or room divider.
- Toxic substances should always be stored in their original container and kept behind a locked cabinet.
- Outdoor play areas should be enclosed by a fence or natural barrier that allows caregivers to see children.
Choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death and injury for children under 5. It is also the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 to 3. Accordingly, it is crucial that daycares remove choking hazards to the greatest extent possible and always supervise the children in their care. Daycare providers throughout California and the United States must have CPR certification. This is one of many childcare licensing requirements. Knowing CPR can often mean the difference between life and death before paramedics arrive in any given situation.
Liability For California Daycare Center Accidents
All daycares and businesses that watch children have a legal obligation to properly supervise the children in their care. They owe children a duty of care and must protect them from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm. To that end, daycares must enforce all rules and regulations necessary for a child’s protection. Children must also be protected from potential environmental hazards at any daycare. Pursuant to California Civil Code 1714, everyone is responsible, not only for their wilful acts, but also for an injury that results from a lack of ordinary care in the management of his or her property. There are many situations in which a daycare owner may face liability for a child injured in their care.
- Daycare employees may have failed to properly supervise children who were abused by employees of the business.
- Daycare employees may have failed to properly supervise children who were attack or harmed by other children or third parties.
- Daycare employees may have allowed children to engage in dangerous activities where there is a known risk of harm.
- Daycare employees may have inadvertently poisoned children with medications, foods or toxic substances.
- Daycare employees may have had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition at the facility and failed to act.
Children cannot be expected to properly care for themselves. They need constant supervision. In general, the younger a child is the greater level of supervision that they will need. However, there are certain scenarios where children are not likely to get adequate supervision. In particular, many daycares ignore rules with respect to how many adults are needed to supervise a given number of children. At the end of the day, daycares are for profit institutions and need to make money. This can create a certain tension which leads to important safety regulations being either bent or outright broken.
Common Injuries Associated With Daycare Accidents
In a daycare setting, children are typically well supervised. But accidents still happen and the children involved may receive a wide range of injuries. Some of these injuries may be obvious, while others may be less obvious. For example, a child that is neglected or abused at a daycare might not have obvious physical injuries. But this mistreatment can lead to changes in a child’s personality and manifest in a variety of other ways. What follows are some common injuries that a child may experience in a daycare setting.
- Falls remain one of the most common types of accidents that occur in a daycare setting. They can result in bruises, sprains and even fractures.
- Children are also at risk of electrocution in a daycare setting. This may result from sticking objects inside of wall outlets. Or a child could be electrocuted after coming into contact with some object that has been energized from an outdoor power source.
- Asphyxiation injuries are also common. They may result from choking on food or children may become entangled in window blinds.
- Allergic reactions can result in serious injury or death. This is why it is so important that daycares understand a child’s allergies. Daycare workers should have easy access to EpiPens, which can be used to reverse the effects of an allergic reaction.
- A child can be poisoned from a variety of different products, chemicals and medications. Accordingly, such items must always be clearly labeled and kept out of the reach of children.
- Head injuries are also common in childcare settings. Even a mild traumatic brain injury can have a lasting impact on a child’s development.
The vast majority of injuries that a child may sustain in a daycare setting can either be prevented or managed through proper supervision, childproofing and following safety guidelines. Caregivers and parents should work closely with one another to help create a nurturing and safe environment for children. If a child is injured in a daycare setting, it is important that the injury is properly treated and documented. When an injury is caused by the negligence of daycare employees, parents may be able to seek aid through a civil claim.
Why You Should Hire An Attorney If Your Child Was Injured In Daycare
It can be hard to know where to begin if your child has been injured in a daycare setting. A serious injury can impact the course of a child’s education and leave parents with high medical bills. To make matters worse, it is common for daycares to not be transparent about how a child in their care was injured. Parents should understand that they do have legal rights if their child is injured in a daycare setting. In particular, they may have recourse through a personal injury claim. There are a number of reasons to consider hiring an attorney if your child has been injured.
- Legal Expertise: A personal injury attorney can use their legal expertise to assess your situation and help you navigate the complex legal landscape.
- Determining Liability: Establishing liability is crucial in prevailing in any civil case. An attorney can help determine the responsible party by gathering and examining all evidence. They can also hire experts if necessary to build a strong case.
- Advocacy For Your Child: A dedicated attorney can serve as a strong advocate for the interests of your child. They can help make sure that those interests are at the heart of any proposed settlement.
- Negotiating With Insurance Companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be incredibly difficult. These companies are experts at doing everything to evade responsibility and paying victims as little as possible. Personal injury attorneys have extensive expertise in negotiating with insurance companies so that a fair resolution can be achieved.
- No Up-Front Costs: There are no up-front costs associated with hiring a personal injury attorney if your child was injured at daycare. Personal injury attorneys only get paid from the opposing party if they are able to successfully settle your case.
- Litigation and Court Representation: Not every case ends up settling. Some cases need to be taken to trial before a jury. A personal injury attorney can take your case to trial if necessary to help get you the best outcome possible.
- Closure and Justice: Going through a legal action can help provide parents with a sense of closure and justice. It sends the message that negligence in a childcare setting is unacceptable and that accountability is crucial.
Legal actions can also provide a great benefit for other families as well. In many situations, settlements require daycares to change their policies so that similar incidents can be prevented. Legal actions can also move other facilities to improve safety measures and training. There is a great peace of mind that comes with having an experienced attorney fighting on your behalf. They help level the playing field against businesses and insurance providers that have their own teams of attorneys who are looking out for their interests.
Getting Legal Help After A Daycare Accident
Skilled legal representation can often mean the difference between winning or losing any claim. At Samer Habbas & Associates our team of personal injury attorneys have decades of experience fighting for victims and their families. In fact, we’ve recovered over $250 million for our deserving clients. There is no case too small or too big that we can’t help you with. It would be our honor to help serve your legal needs if your child has been injured at daycare.
If your child has been injured due to the negligence of a daycare or early child education operator, you may be entitled to compensation. We can evaluate the specific facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are. Our team is dedicated to helping accident victims get the justice and support that they deserve. There is a reason that our law firm has hundreds of five star reviews. We focus on winning for our clients above all else. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 949-727-9300.