With a majority of mothers with young children working full time, more and more families must depend on others to care for their children. Having quality daycare available is a must for working parents, and centers operated by dedicated professionals should give parents the peace of mind of knowing that when they are busy earning a living for their families, their kids are being well cared for. Unfortunately not every daycare facility provides the high standard of care that parents have the right to expect, and some children suffer serious injuries and even death, due to negligence, neglect, or outright abuse when in the care of others.
Types of Daycare Accidents that Cause Injury or Death
- Slip-and-fall accidents on the playground
- Injuries caused by playground equipment
- Hypothermia from being forgotten in a hot daycare van
- Motor vehicle accidents while transporting children
- Injuries caused by poor supervision
- Crib injuries
- Ingestion of poison
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Choking and swallowing of sharp objects
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Bruising and fractures from excessive discipline
Lack of adequate supervision of children by caregivers, and lack of proper supervision of daycare staff by owners can both result in a situation in which children may be harmed. The center and cribs should be free of electrical hazards, toxic chemicals (which may be used for cleaning), sharp objects, small objects that can be a choking hazard, electrical cords, blinds cords, and medications. It should be kept clean and sanitary, and the staff-to-child ratio must be within state guidelines. In addition, broken toys should be removed, playground equipment properly maintained, and soft matting should cover the surface of the outdoor play area.
Daycare Center Safety Procedures
Because children lack the judgment to keep themselves safe, it is incumbent upon daycare providers to adhere conscientiously to all safety procedures. All staff members should have completed appropriate education requirements, know child CPR, and be subjected to a rigorous background check.
Daycare Van Safety
Daycare vans should be properly maintained, equipped with seatbelts and child safety seats, and an alarm system to alert the driver or other staff member if a child has fallen asleep and not been removed from the van, which could result in death from heat injury. Vans should also be equipped with reversing windows to prevent a child’s head, neck, or other body part from being trapped by an automatic window. Of course procedures should be in place to ensure that the entire area surrounding a vehicle is carefully checked before moving after the children have been loaded or unloaded. And regular “body counts” should be conducted throughout the day, to make sure all children are present and accounted for.
Holding the Center Liable for Negligence and Wrongdoing
When these and other important procedures either are not in place or are not enforced and a child suffers a serious injury, the parents may be able to hold the daycare center liable for the child’s injury or death. While this provides little comfort to a family that has lost a child in a wrongful daycare death or whose child has suffered through a debilitating injury, it can help cover medical expenses, provide for the services an injured child may need in the future, and most importantly, deter such negligent, careless, or abusive treatment of vulnerable children whose parents have entrusted the center with the care of their little ones.
Civil Case vs. Criminal Charges
Some of the behaviors that can harm children are also crimes; however a criminal conviction does not come with a recovery of money for damages, and the standard of proof needed for a conviction is higher than in a civil case. In some situations bringing a civil suit is a way to hold negligent centers accountable for the harm they’ve caused when a criminal case would be difficult to prove to a jury. In other cases, a civil action may be brought to recover monetary damages for the child and/or family (in the case of a wrongful death) in addition to the criminal case.
Alabama Daycare Injury Attorneys
No parent should have to learn that their child has been seriously hurt or killed while in a supposedly safe and loving daycare environment. If your child has been injured in an Alabama daycare center due to staff negligence or abuse, call the Drake Law Firm in Birmingham for the help you need. Our skilled, experienced, and compassionate lawyers understand the pain you feel when your child has suffered, and we believe that negligent, careless, or abusive daycare centers and their employees must be held accountable for their wrongdoing. With more than 25 years of total experience in obtaining recoveries for our clients in personal injury and wrongful death actions, we have what it takes to force anyone who has violated their duty of care and trust in a way that has harmed a child to pay for what they have done. Making them accept full responsibility is the only way to ensure that no more children are injured and that every child has the healthy, happy daycare experience they deserve.
Call Drake Law in Birmingham to schedule your free consultation.