For most families, keeping an eye on the children twenty-four hours a day simply isn’t an option. Daycare is a crucial service. It encourages early childhood socialization, while enabling parents to earn a living and lead balanced lives.
Of course, trusting someone else with your child’s safety is no small matter. Millions of parents wrestle with anxiety over enrolling their children in daycare each year. Some search far and wide for the perfect facility. Others must make do with limited local options. Ultimately, it’s a tremendous act of faith to drop off your child at daycare and shut the door behind you.
Some Daycare Accidents are Preventable
While there are many daycare centers run by caring and careful people, needless accidents can and do happen. In fact, accidental injuries are the leading cause of death among children, as recorded by the CDC. A child is treated for an injury in the emergency room about once every four seconds in the U.S, and one dies every hour. Creating a child-safe space is a difficult and complicated proposition, and daycare is an industry like any other; financial priorities sometimes eclipse safety.
Common Daycare Injuries
Daycare introduces some specific dangers into a child’s life, particularly injuries caused by other children, like bites and bruises from thrown objects. For the most part, however, the risks that follow children everywhere are the same risks that rise during daycare hours. The National Institute of Health (NIH) lists the most common types of childhood injury as:
- Traffic Accidents. This includes cases where children are struck by vehicles, as well as crashes with children on board. Poor fence maintenance, an unlatched gate, or a momentary lapse in supervision can easily lead to a small child wandering out onto the road, especially in group situations at daycare facilities.
- Small children are most likely to suffocate at night, but a surprising number of suffocations and strangulations occur on playgrounds. In a by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fatal playground strangulations were more than four times as common as fatal falls from the equipment. These incidents were generally caused by items like jump ropes or drawstrings becoming tangled or snagged.
- Drowning is a serious danger whenever any kind of pool facilities are present, particularly at home daycares. It doesn’t take much water for a drowning to occur. In August of 2017, a toddler fatally drowned in no more than an inflatable backyard pool at a home daycare.
- Household chemicals and medicines are the most frequently talked-about poisoning hazards for small children. Some of these, like drain and toilet bowl cleaners, will need to be kept on hand by any daycare facility and secured accordingly. Others, like diabetes medication or paint thinner, may incidentally be present in daycare centers that are also homes. Poison control also warns that batteries — like those found in many remotes and toys — can burn a hole through the esophagus in less than two hours, causing potentially life-threatening or irreparable damage.
- Bottle warmers are one of the leading causes of burns for small children, both at home and at daycare. These small heating devices are tempting for children waiting to be fed, easy to knock over, and capable of causing instant second degree burns. Some daycare centers have switched to using warm tap water or serving formula cold from the fridge, but bottle warmers are still in use in many locations.
- There are hidden dangers everywhere, but the obvious danger of falling on the playground at a daycare should not be dismissed. Over 200,000 children a year are treated for playground injuries in U.S emergency rooms, with one in ten of these children suffering a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries can cause death, loss of senses, and a plethora of developmental problems.
Daycares Have a Responsibility to Protect Children
Parents take the trust they place in daycare centers very seriously, and thankfully, so does the law. Regulations for daycare centers in the state of Georgia are extensive and very specific. Any furniture heavy enough to cause injury by falling must be safely secured. Playgrounds must be kept clean, with equipment properly anchored. Fences and gates are mandatory, and certain teacher to child ratios are mandated by law such that overcrowding is strictly prohibited.
Daycare centers are required to keep records and notify parents immediately of all injuries that may require professional medical care. All caregivers must be trained in many aspects of childcare, including hazard identification. Ideally, this training prevents accidents from occurring through honest ignorance or lack of foresight.
Of course, as in all things, the existence of regulations does not always mean that these regulations are followed.
What to Do If Your Child Has Been Injured at Daycare
If your child has been injured at daycare, seek medical attention right away, both for the child’s well-being and to establish a record of the incident. Afterward, you’ll need to talk to an expert in premises liability cases, like those at the Stoddard Firm, about your next steps.
Your child’s injury may have been the result of one caregiver’s negligence, or a lack of support from the center itself. Either way, it’s a violation of the faith you’ve placed in your daycare center and an indication that something is wrong.
By seeking the compensation you deserve, you ensure that you’ll be able to pay for your child’s medical expenses, take the time you need to help him or her recover, and still make ends meet. You’ll also be helping to encourage safer daycare practices, protecting other children from accidents in the future.
Give us a call at 678-RESULT or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have a case?
If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you could have a personal injury case. Every situation is different, so there’s no way to know if you have a case without consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney. If you are badly injured or a loved one has died, we are happy to speak with you and investigate the matter at no charge.
How do I pick the right attorney?
You’ll want to look for several qualities when choosing who will represent you. Your attorney should meet with you instead of sending an investigator, and he/she should be available throughout the process instead of having you consistently talk to a legal assistant. Your attorney should have a low number of cases so he/she can devote significant time to you and your case. Your attorney should have experience handling cases with facts similar to yours, and your attorney should have a proven track record with similar claims. Your attorney should also be able to devote significant money to your case so that he/she can hire experts, travel the country finding witnesses, and depose whomever is necessary to achieve justice. It’s also important to make sure your attorney is the right fit on a personal level, which is why you should take advantage of a free consultation.
What do I need to bring with me to the consultation?
For your free consultation, bring all relevant documents that you’ve collected regarding your case. If there are police reports, bills or correspondence from insurance companies, you’ll want to bring those items to the consultation so an attorney can learn as much about your case as possible.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
There is a time limit on how long a person has after an injury to begin a lawsuit. This window is called a statute of limitations. For most personal injury cases in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the time the injury was suffered. However, there are exceptions and subtleties that might change the amount of time you are afforded. Sometimes the period can be as short as 6 months, and other times it can be much longer than two years. Determining the statute of limitations requires a detailed analysis of the facts of your case.
What do your services cost?
A consultation with the Stoddard Law Firm is free. In most circumstances, we earn no fee unless we win your case. If your claim is successful, we take a percentage of the recovered amount.
What has to be proven in a premises liability case?
A successful premises liability claim must show that a hazardous condition exposed you to an unreasonable risk of harm and that the property owner failed to exercise reasonable care to maintain a safe premises. Common examples include slippery floors, unstable structures, broken handrails, stairs not built to code, scalding apartment shower water, natural gas explosions, electrical shocks, and improperly fenced swimming pools. There are several factors that can make or break a case, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced lawyer who can thoroughly investigate the situation.
How is negligent security different from premises liability?
Negligent security is a type of premises liability. These claims arise when a person is assaulted on someone else’s property by a third-party. Owners of apartment complexes, hotels, gas stations, and other retail establishments can sometimes be held liable if their inadequate security practices contributed to the attack. Such practices include failure to warn of prior crimes, inadequate lighting, broken access gates, broken locks, and failure to provide security guards.
How can an attorney help me?
Whether your injury was mild or severe, proving fault for premises liability can be a complex process. The standard of care owed by the property owner is made up of many factors and, in some cases, the hazardous conditions may no longer exist. A skilled premises liability attorney knows how to gather and preserve the necessary evidence – and how to defend you against accusations that you should have known about the dangerous condition.
How do I choose an attorney?
There are a lot of lawyers out there, so it’s important to select one that you feel comfortable with and who inspires confidence. Choose one who has experience with the type of claim you have, is qualified, has a good reputation in the legal community, and seems dedicated to helping you win your case.
How do I pay an attorney?
The Stoddard Firm handles litigation on a contingency basis. This means we accept a percentage of the amount we recover for you. If your claim does not have a successful resolution, we do not collect any fee. We are also pleased to offer free consultations.