When you entrust the care of your child to someone else, it’s the most significant decision you might ever make in your life. For working parents, daycare may be the only option available for childcare. When you choose a daycare, it’s probably not a decision you take lightly. Let’s see what should you do if your child is injured at daycare.
It can be time-consuming to compare facilities and find the one you think is best for your child.
So what happens in the unthinkable situation where your child is injured at daycare?
It can cause your stomach to churn just thinking about it, but the reality is, accidents and injuries occur at daycares around the country every day. Most often, any injuries your child might get are genuinely an accident, but in some horrible circumstances, they could be the result of something worse, such as abuse or negligence.
If your child is hurt at daycare, what are the next steps you should take as a parent? What should you generally know about daycare injuries?
An Overview of Negligence and Injuries At Daycare
Daycares are required to meet very high standards for the care they provide because of the vulnerability of children. Every state has guidelines and requirements for licensing, but even when a facility is compliant, that doesn’t mean that injuries can’t still occur.
If a daycare isn’t meeting regulatory guidelines in all ways and a child gets hurt, then they may face legal liability, and they may be responsible for losses stemming from the injury.
Examples of negligence in a daycare setting can include:
- Lack of proper supervision: The primary role of children’s caretakers is to supervise them. A facility that’s maybe understaffed or have staff that just aren’t paying attention for any reason may lead to injuries as a result. Accidents stemming from a lack of supervision can include falls, children hurting one another, or choking.
- Dangerous premises: If a facility isn’t safely maintained, children can get hurt. Examples could be if a child were able to access household cleaners, chemicals, or sharp objects.
- Lack of security: The idea of your child being handed over to a stranger is truly a nightmare situation. Daycares are required to have in place policies and procedures that prevent people from having access to your child when they shouldn’t.
- Abuse: Negligence is more common in daycares than abuse, but there are situations where daycare staff intentionally hurt children.
Common Daycare Injuries
Some of the daycare injuries that are somewhat common include:
- Playground accidents
- Choking on food or toys
- Being dropped
- Fights with other children
- Broken bones or sprains
- Wandering outside the facility, such as into a nearby street
- Pool or drowning accidents
Injuries are most often minor but can be severe.
What Can You Do As a Parent?
If your child is hurt at daycare, it’s easy to feel helpless, but you aren’t. There are things you can and should do.
First, proactively, you should know what your childcare facility’s policy is about accidents and injuries. Before your child attends a daycare, you need to ensure that the workers are correctly licensed.
If your child is injured, safety is your top priority. You should seek medical care immediately, even if the injury seems to be pretty minor. Some injuries have effects that may not show up immediately, which is why a safe rather than sorry approach tends to be best for kids.
With very young children, it’s imperative to talk to a health care professional right away, no matter what. Babies can’t verbalize what they might be feeling or experiencing, and there can be unseen injuries.
Report the Injury
Once you’ve gotten medical care for your child, then you should report the incident to the daycare facility.
You need to ensure the daycare manager or director fills out an official report of the injuries you’re reporting.
During this time, you should speak to your child’s teacher or the person in charge when the injury occurred. Ask what the provider did after the injury and how the situation was handled right after.
You may, depending on what happened, need to file a police report. You could also need to report the situation to the state agency that oversees childcare facilities.
You should, when you file a report, take pictures of the scene where the accident or injury occurred. You should also take photos of your child’s injuries. You can request to see the security camera footage too.
The daycare center may not want to provide you with what you’re asking for, in which case you should seek legal counsel.
Signs of Abuse
As a parent, you always want to be mindful of the signs of abuse, especially when your child is too young to tell you what’s going on.
Signs of abuse in young children include, along with unexplained injuries:
- A strong, sudden aversion to going to daycare
- Your child may seem unusually clingy
- Discomfort being undressed
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Aggression, such as biting or kicking
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors
- Reverting to behaviors that would be typical of a younger child
Do You Have a Legal Case?
If you believe your child was hurt at daycare because of abuse, you should contact the police, and you may have a civil case as well.
If your child was hurt because of something that wasn’t the result of abuse, you might still have a legal case against the daycare.
The best person to speak to is a personal injury attorney in this situation. Again, daycares are very heavily regulated and have to meet high standards, so even if an injury is an accident, there can still be a legal liability on the part of the facility.
The first steps you should take if your child is hurt at daycare is getting medical attention. From there, speak to the facility and document everything. If necessary, go to the police, and once you’ve completed those steps, you might talk to a personal injury lawyer.