Most American parents rely on daycare facilities to provide care for their children while the parents are at work. The sad reality is that many childcare facilities do not provide adequate care and protection for our beloved children. The result is that kids suffer serious injuries and illnesses.
If your child has been injured or contracted an illness at daycare, you have options.
Childcare injury statistics
Throughout the country, the statistics are extremely difficult to summarize, as many states have not compiled or reported child injury statistics, and there is no uniformity between the states on how this information is gathered or organized.
However, Georgia has been a forerunner of data compilation among the states. A 2012 paper by Dr. John Carter analyzes medical data regarding all injured children and compares is to childcare accident and injury data from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL).
Both studies illustrate that children are injured much less often in childcare facilities than they are injured in their own homes, suggesting that, in general, childcare facilities are safer for children than their own homes.
However, childcare facilities are still liable for any injuries or other damages resulting from their negligence or intentionally harmful actions.
Common causes of injuries
The most common causes of injuries to children include:
- Falls: Children fall, often because of unsafe conditions on a premises or failure to keep an area properly clean and free from toys and other items on the floor. Poorly kept stairways and playgrounds are other common causes of falls.
- Falling items: When bookshelves, tables, chairs and other items tip and fall on children, the results usually involve fractures, contusions, abrasions and possible scarring.
- Unsafe doorways: Although there are regulations for how to keep doorways safe, many daycare facilities do not comply, and children get their fingers crushed or suffer other injuries in closing doorways.
- Burns: Soups, daycare providers’ coffee and other hot liquids can cause serious burn injuries. These injuries should not be taken lightly, as they can be extremely painful and result in nerve damage and lifelong scarring.
- Poison: In addition to unsafe storage of dangerous chemicals, there are numerous allergies and potential illness causing foods. Far too often, childcare providers fail to use appropriate caution to make sure the children they are caring for are not exposed to dangerous foods and chemicals.
- Malnutrition: In addition to letting kids be exposed to dangerous chemicals, many daycare facilities fail to provide adequate nutrition, leading to dehydration and other serious problems due to lack of adequate nutrients.
- Abuse: Sadly, there are instances in which daycare providers commit acts of abuse against the children they are supposed to be caring for. In addition to the internal injuries that might not be uncovered easily, children can suffer fractures and broken bones, contusions, burn injuries and severe emotional distress.
This is a short sample of the causes of injuries to children in daycare facilities. If your child has suffered any type of injury, illness or emotional distress as a result of negligence on the part of the facility, talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer. This negligence can include letting the child wander off, play with dangerous or age-inappropriate toys, be exposed to dangerous chemicals or other unsafe situations.
Bringing a legal claim against a day care facility
A personal injury claim against a childcare facility falls under what is called tort law. In tort law, there are four elements that make up a successful claim:
- Duty: The defendant must have some kind of duty in a tort claim. In the case of childcare facility claims, the duty is to provide a safe environment and protect the child from injury.
- Breach: The defendant has to breach the duty. In childcare facility cases, this can mean failure to maintain a safe environment, allowing a child to wander off from the facility, allowing a child to access dangerous chemicals or other similar examples of breaching the facility’s duties.
- Harm: The plaintiff must have suffered some kind of real harm for a tort claim. For daycare cases, this means the child must have been injured or contracted some kind of illness.
- Proximate cause: The harm that the plaintiff suffers must be caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. If a child falls down the stairs and then catches a cold the next day, it would be hard to establish proximate cause between the fall and the harm suffered. But in many cases, the breach of duty on the part of the daycare facility is a proximate cause of the damages the child suffers.
These are the basics of tort law claims against childcare facilities. If your child has been injured in any way at a daycare center, talk with the experienced lawyers at Davis, Chapman, and Wilder, LLC in Augusta, GA to bring a personal injury claim and obtain the compensation your family deserves.