Small children are not able to take care of themselves. For this reason, many parents drop their children off at daycare on the way to work—sometimes on a daily basis. Parents carefully select daycare facilities, and whether your child goes to a private home or a school environment, you should expect that your child will receive proper care. After all, children cannot protect themselves from harm during daycare.
Unfortunately, many parents receive the dreaded phone call that their child was injured while under the watch of their daycare. Sometimes, the injury is purely accidental—your child simply lost balance and fell down. However, in other cases, you may suspect that your child’s daycare could have prevented the injury—and the injury was actually due to the daycare’s carelessness. In this situation, you should always discuss your concerns with an experienced lawyer who can evaluate the situation.
Negligence at Daycare
Because children are so vulnerable, daycares are held to high standards when it comes to providing proper care. Illinois has specific guidelines and requirements for child care licensing, and every daycare is expected to adhere to these standards. Unfortunately, government regulators cannot continuously monitor all daycares for compliance, and many violate the rules, which can result in injuries.
When a daycare fails to meet the required standard of care and injures a child as a result, the daycare can face liability for negligence and any losses stemming from the injury. Negligence can occur in many different ways and result in many types of daycare accidents. Even minor mishaps—harmless in other situations—can cause life-threatening injuries at a daycare.
Examples of negligence that may cause daycare accidents and injuries include:
Inadequate supervision. Inadequate supervision of the children, whether due to an understaffed facility or a staff that simply may not pay proper attention to the children, is a primary cause of daycare accidents. When a daycare leaves a small child unsupervised, the resulting accidents can include:
- Children injuring each other
- Obtaining and using items that can harm them
- Swallowing items and choking
- Falling in pools, tubs, or other water hazards
- Wandering off from the premises
- Eating things they shouldn’t due to allergies
One reason you entrust your child to a particular daycare is so someone can supervise and watch your child while you cannot. If a daycare fails to provide the necessary level of attention to your child and an injury results, you may have a claim for negligent supervision.
Sometimes, daycare injuries occur because the staff doesn’t keep the facility in a safe condition for the children. Anyone with small children knows to keep them away from dangerous items and not to give them access to cabinets, closets, or areas that may store dangerous items. Many daycare injuries can result if children are able to reach the following items:
- Household cleaners
- Knives, razors, or other sharp objects
- Plastic bags or anything that can suffocate them
- Hot objects
The above is far from an exhaustive list of items that, if they are not properly stowed safely away, can cause injuries to children.
In addition, facilities in states of disrepair can violate safety standards and result in injuries. Children may become ill or injured from exposure to toxic chemicals, mold, or other dangerous building conditions. Children can contract serious infections, rashes, and other illnesses due to exposure to unsanitary facilities. Unfortunately, many of these dangerous conditions are not obviously apparent to parents who drop off and pick up their children.
Many daycares also have playground equipment or even swimming pools with which to entertain children. When facilities do not maintain playground equipment or it fails to meet safety regulations, they put children in extreme danger. In addition, swimming pool areas must meet certain specifications, and if they fail to do so, daycares can create dangerous and fatal hazards for children. Many hazards on a daycare’s premises can cause injuries, and our attorneys can evaluate whether your child’s injury was caused by such negligence.
Having a stranger harm your child is almost every parent’s worst nightmare. Daycares should have proper policies and procedures in place to ensure that no one has access to a child without the necessary permission. If a daycare has inadequate security, someone who is allowed to wander into the facility can physically assault, sexually assault, or kidnap children.
Neglect and Abuse
While negligence on the part of the staff or owner of the facility causes many daycare injuries, intentional actions produce others. Sometimes, staff members know they provide subpar care or may even lose their patience and hurt children on purpose. Examples of daycare neglect and abuse include:
- Not providing adequate food and water
- Failing to change diapers or allowing children to remain soiled
- Not attending to injured or ill children
- Isolating or restraining children
- Physically harming children
- Emotionally abusing children
- Sexually abusing children
You should never expect that a daycare or its staff will intentionally neglect or abuse your child, but these cases do happen. Some signs of such misconduct can include any injuries to your child that you cannot explain, repeated injuries in various stages of recovery, changes in personality or behavior, and much more.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney to Learn About Your Rights Today
No child should suffer preventable injuries at daycare, and no parent should have to witness a child in pain or bear the cost of treating such injuries. The attorneys at Abels & Annes in Chicago understand the seriousness of injury cases involving children, and we are fully dedicated to our clients. If your child was injured, please do not wait to contact us online or call the office at (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation.