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We live an era when parents—particularly women—have more choices than ever when it comes to working in or out of the home. For this reason, childcare facilities play an important role in childhood development. Dropping your children off with someone every day naturally implies that you trust the facility or workers to provide protection and nurturing. A major piece of protecting children is keeping a watchful eye on them. Negligent childcare supervision can lead to serious child injuries.
The stories that most often make headlines when it comes to daycares are cases of abuse. However, children in daycare facilities are far more likely to suffer from injuries from the lack of adult supervision. Children suffer personal injuries at alarming rates when an adult in charge fails to provide proper supervision. Thankfully, Texas law provides parents a remedy called negligent supervision. Parents or guardians may file a negligent supervision lawsuit when their child is injured in the care of another.
What is negligent daycare supervision?
Negligent daycare supervision occurs when a caregiver fails to keep an eye on a child and that child somehow ends up hurt. Parents and guardians can hold public and private schools, daycares, camps, church or private homeowners accountable for negligent supervision.
Texas law permits parents the ability to hold the following people and organizations accountable for negligent supervision:
- Private homeowners
- Church youth group leaders
- Camp counselors
- Other parents
It’s important to note that negligent supervision doesn’t just occur in daycare facilities. Any person or party can be negligent in your child’s supervision.
What can lead to negligent supervision in childcare facilities?
One of the most common reasons for negligent daycare supervision is understaffing. Daycare facilities in Texas are required to adhere to strict child to staff ratios. For example, the child to staff ratio for children 18-23 months is 9:1 with a maximum group size of 18. In other words, if the facility has 18 toddlers in a room, they must have two staff members present.
Another reason is that staff may be too distracted gossiping or spending time on their cell phones. The best way to avoid child injuries is to ensure the facility is operating within state guidelines, as well as your own. Red flags that negligent supervision may be occurring in your child’s daycare facility includes:
- Staff cannot explain your child’s injuries
- Dirty surfaces
- Disorganized play areas
- Children being aggressive to one another
- Unreported bruising or injuries
- Changes in your child’s behavior
Just one unprofessional worker can seriously alter yours and your child’s life. Knowing the signs of negligent supervision can keep your child healthy.
What are the most common negligent childcare supervision injuries?
As parents, many of us put a lot of thought into deciding where our children will go to daycare. The process of selecting a daycare includes everything from recommendations from other parents to internet research to tours where we ask all the questions we can think of. Still, many of us are afraid to ask childcare providers the hard questions. While these questions may not be top of mind, asking daycare providers what are the most common injuries and how the staff works to prevent them should be a question on every parent’s list.
Children are most likely to suffer daycare injuries on the playground, classroom or in bathrooms. The five most common child injuries that could indicate negligent childcare supervision include the following:
Biting is a huge red flag when it comes to negligent supervision in daycares. Many daycares have “biting” policies. However, when a facility is understaffed, the likelihood of a “biter” getting away with biting other children may go unnoticed. Often, the first sign that a child has been bitten is uncontrollable crying. Upon pickup, if your child has been bit, you should receive documentation about the bite. However, if you get home and find a bruise in the shape of another child’s mouth and no paperwork, it could indicate negligent daycare supervision.
Another sign of negligent childcare supervision can come in the form of other children hitting your child. Childcare providers have an obligation to stop fights and do their due diligence in preventing abusive behaviors between the children.
Minor scrapes and scratches
Children are not nearly as coordinated as adults. Therefore, they may suffer small injuries such as paper cuts or scratches from unavoidable falls. Accidents happen and that’s OK. As long as these injuries aren’t happening every day and the daycare is properly documenting and informing you of your child’s injuries, this shouldn’t raise alarms with parents or guardians.
Children often lack impulse control and can easily end up with bruises from playing a little too rough or from a fall. It’s also important to note that some children bruise easier than others. Parents should pay close attention to the location and shape of a bruise.
As we’ve mentioned before, accidents happen and children are accident-prone. However, this doesn’t mean that childcare providers don’t have to pay attention to the children in their care. For example, if your child broke their wrist after falling off of jungle gym equipment meant for older kids, this can be a sign of negligent childcare supervision.
In addition to physical injuries, a change in your child’s behavior can also indicate improper care in a daycare. If your child has suffered injuries at the hands of a daycare or provider, you must understand that it is not your fault. The childcare facility is solely to blame for any injuries to your child. Contact a Child Injury Attorney to discuss your legal situation.
We care, we can help
If your child was injured in a daycare setting due to understaffing, consult with a child injury attorney to discuss your options. The Carlson Law Firm has been dedicated to protecting the rights of clients of all ages for more than 40 years. If your child suffered injuries because of negligent daycare supervision, contact us today. We can schedule a free, virtual consultation from the safety of your home during the COVID-19 crisis.