Parents trust daycares to protect and care for their children, but what happens if that trust is misplaced? If your child has suffered a serious injury at daycare, you may be understandably angry, confused, and afraid of what might happen if your child returns to the same care facility. At the same time, you have to worry about your child’s medical bills, continued medical care, and helping them deal with any trauma they suffered from their injury.
Do You Need a Salt Lake City Daycare Accident Attorney?
In many situations, it can be hard to know if your child’s injuries resulted from an unavoidable accident or the negligence of the daycare provider. If your child suffered a serious injury in a childcare facility, we recommend speaking to a daycare accident attorney to learn your rights. In many cases, if there is evidence the facility was negligent, we can pursue compensation for your child’s injuries, so you can focus on helping them recover.
What Are the Most Common Types of Daycare Accidents?
Unfortunately, there are a number of ways kids can get hurt at daycare. Here are some of the most common types of accidents that occur:
- Playground accidents. Minor injuries on the playground are a normal part of childhood. But if your child is seriously hurt, the facility may have been negligent in several ways. When we investigate these accidents, we check out the playground equipment to see if it was rotted, rusted, or otherwise in an unsafe condition. We also look for shock-absorbing material on the ground to provide some protection if a child falls. Additionally, we consider if the child was being appropriately supervised at the time of the accident.
- Burns. People often picture a fire when they think about burns, but in daycare accident cases, we more commonly see situations where a child was burned by hot liquids or a bottle warmer. Unfortunately, hot liquids and heating appliances can cause second or third-degree burns in a vulnerable child. Typically these incidents happen due to a lack of supervision in a room where bottle warmers or other appliances are used.
- Falling objects. It’s easy to forget that small children often reach for items above them on desks or tables. If daycare staff members leave these objects close to the edge, a toddler is at risk of having an item fall on them. Even small items can sometimes cause significant injuries. A lack of care in keeping items away from the edge of furniture and a lack of supervision of the child can be signs of negligence in these cases.
- Food and diet problems. Sometimes the daycare feeds a child something they’re allergic to or otherwise fails to follow the parents’ instructions about diet. When this happens to a child with a severe allergy or significant health problem, the results can severely affect the child’s health. If the daycare staff knew about your child’s problem and didn’t take steps to protect them from exposure to specific foods or other allergens, they may have been negligent.
- Choking. This is somewhat related to food and diet issues. Young children can choke, particularly on pieces of food that are too large or considered high-risk for choking. Often the risk increases if food isn’t divided into smaller pieces. Additionally, kids can choke on small items like buttons or batteries. The daycare could be negligent if they allow your child access to choking hazards or don’t respond appropriately when a child chokes. All daycare staff should be trained in first aid for choking children.
- Medication or other healthcare issues. If your daycare failed to give your child medication on schedule or otherwise attend to your child’s healthcare needs as directed, they may have been negligent.
- Slip/trip and fall hazards. There’s no denying that kids make messes, but daycare staff members have a responsibility to clean them up promptly. They should also be supervising the children closely enough to keep them away from puddles or other messes until someone can clean things up. If a hazard was left unaddressed for an extended period of time and caused your child to fall and suffer an injury, the facility may be negligent.
- Poisoning. Sometimes we see cases where curious children drink cleaning chemicals or ingest other toxic substances. These most commonly happen for two reasons: a lack of supervision and failure to keep toxic chemicals out of reach of children.
- Motor vehicle accidents. If the daycare offers day trips or outings for kids, they may have a van or multiple vehicles to carry children from place to place. Sometimes kids are hurt in an accident because the vehicle’s car seats were old, expired, or otherwise didn’t work as they should. In other situations, the child wasn’t buckled into the seat properly or was placed in the wrong type of seat for their age or size. In these cases, it may be possible to seek damages from the at-fault driver and the daycare if its negligence made the child’s injuries worse.
- Abuse or neglect. Most daycare injuries result from accidents, even if the facility was negligent in some way. However, there are a few cases where workers intentionally abuse or neglect a child. In these situations, the daycare may have been negligent in its hiring practices or in failing to address previous complaints from parents about the abusive staff member.
What Causes Daycare Injuries?
As you might guess from the above list, most injuries are due to one of the following factors:
- Lack of supervision. In many cases, we find that poor supervision is not due to an employee shirking their duties but is caused by staffing issues. There are state rules for how many adults must be present per X number of children (these vary by the children’s ages). If the daycare failed to schedule enough staff members, it may not be possible for the workers who are present to adequately manage their assigned children. Improper staffing can also be a reason why hazards aren’t addressed in a timely manner.
- Lack of training. If employees don’t have the right training, they may not know how to handle emergencies or deal with hazards that occur in childcare situations.
- Failure to keep up with routine maintenance. Every daycare facility should have an employee whose job is to ensure compliance with safety measures. This person should regularly check for recalls on toys, playground equipment, and appliances to ensure there are no unsafe items in the facility. They should also keep up with the expiration date on car seats and replace these as needed. Additionally, they should regularly walk the center looking for hazards, such as uncapped electrical outlets. If no one at the daycare is concerned with these protocols, there is a greater risk of an accident.
What Should You Do If Your Child is Hurt at Daycare?
First, try to remain calm and get as much information as possible about what happened. We know that learning your child was hurt is extremely upsetting, especially if it seems that the daycare failed to protect your child from harm. However, getting angry and blaming the staff members can make the situation worse. They will be less inclined to tell you about what happened and may even go so far as to try to cover up what occurred.
Next, get prompt medical attention for your child, even if their injuries don’t seem serious. It’s important to document any injuries that happen in daycare and to ensure your child’s injuries aren’t worse than they might seem. Take pictures of your child’s injuries and keep copies of their medical bills.
If your daycare center offers online videos for parents, try to find a video of the incident so you can get a better idea of how it happened. If there is no video, you might ask other parents if their child has had a similar problem at the facility. Sometimes we find that there is a problematic pattern, with multiple parents complaining about a potential hazard before one child actually gets hurt. This can be important in cases where we need to establish that the facility was aware of a hazard for some time and took no steps to address it.
Finally, speak to a daycare accident lawyer as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights.
Contact Our Salt Lake City Daycare Accident Law Firm Today
If your child was seriously injured in a daycare incident, they might need medical care for days, weeks, or months. Medical bills can add up fast, even with insurance, and you may not know the extent of your child’s injuries. In some cases, they may develop long-term difficulties or a permanent disability from a severe injury.
For all of these reasons, we encourage you to contact Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation about your child’s daycare injury. We will review your cases, answer any questions you have, and advise you of your options, including how long you have to take action. Call 801-810-9999.
Founder and lead attorney Brigham Richards is experienced in civil litigation and insurance negotiations and works to achieve exceptional results for his clients. The basis of his practice philosophy is responsibility, and he advocates tirelessly to help injured people get the compensation they deserve. He can assist clients who speak English or Spanish.